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This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.

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The next Pope and sex abuse

Mar 4th 2013 new
Should the next Pope raise the bar on the canonical penalties for sex abuse and covering it up to include possible excommunication?
Mar 4th 2013 new

Defrock. Excommunicate. Hand over all evidence and the perp to the cops.

If the abuser is truly sorry, he can confess to the prison chaplain.

Mar 4th 2013 new

I'm with you Naomi. Transparency is good. I dont think we're asking too much from our Bishops and Cardinals to keep their hands to themselves. The hypocrisy has got to stop- starting from the top on down. The next Pope?? better be tough (spiritually)

Mar 5th 2013 new
Sunlight and fresh air are the best disinfectants. Any instance of abuse must be dealt with in a transparent manner. Excommunication is harsh but removal from ministry and reporting the allegations to the police are appropriate. However, the priests who run chanceries are often ill-suited to handle this. They either cover things up or go overboard in the opposite direction so that innocent priests get very harsh treatment. I personally know one priest who was falsely accused. No doubt about that. His accuser wanted money. Not only were his faculties revoked, they were not reinstated when the allegations were proven not only to be false but also impossible to have occurred - during the time the accuser said he was abused he was not at the facility this priest ran AND the priest was at graduate school in another state during the same time period, but some wonk administrator remains adamantly opposed to reinstating this innocent priest. In another diocese, the bishop instituted a policy forbidding priests from being alone with any teen. A friend's brother is a priest there and had a very troubled nephew who always came to him for help and advice. His stepfather was horribly abusive and the teen would often come to stay with his priest/uncle. When the priest/uncle explained they could not continue spending time together, the young man took his own life.
Mar 5th 2013 new
I think the Church needs to have a zero tolerance policy written into canon law to deal with future and currently pending cases.

In the early centuries of the Church people were excommunicated for much less. (E.g. gambling)
Mar 5th 2013 new

(Quote) John-220051 said: I think the Church needs to have a zero tolerance policy written into canon law to deal with future and c...
(Quote) John-220051 said: I think the Church needs to have a zero tolerance policy written into canon law to deal with future and currently pending cases.

In the early centuries of the Church people were excommunicated for much less. (E.g. gambling)
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From Matthew regarding forgiveness: "Jesus said to him, 'I do not say 7 times, but 70 times 7'"

Excommunication, as David stated, is extreme. The Church is all about forgiveness and the Lord's mercy. This is seen even in the Old Testament, despite people's interpretation of the OT as vengeful. The Good Lord keeps forgiving. We're called to do the same, despite the fact it sometimes seems almost repugnant to do so.

In the culture of the times, there were what we now "cover-ups", but this was an accepted practice, not only with the Church, but with other institutions as well. For example, school teachers were merely transferred to another district with no record following them; Scout leaders were merely told to leave the organization. That didn't make it right and we now see the consequences of hiding these repulsive actions. A lot of damage has been done and it will take years to rebuild the Church's reputation.

As David also mentioned, there are clergy who have been falsely accused. Some might not be able to prove their innocence; in fact, several alleged abusers are now deceased and cannot defend themselves. We discover innocent people in prison. Should we handle the clergy abuse situation the same way?

There are procedures currently in existence. If followed correctly there should be no need to add more harsh penalties.

Mar 5th 2013 new

Zero tolerance of what, though?


I know of some cases where a priest was smeared with an allegation of abuse by someone else in the Church who wanted that priest to keep quiet. In some dioceses the clerical culture has decayed to such an extent that what is needed is almost an enema, for lack of a better word, to flush out all the crap.

Mar 5th 2013 new
(Quote) Ray-566531 said: From Matthew regarding forgiveness: "Jesus said to him, 'I do not say 7 times, but 70 times 7'"...
(Quote) Ray-566531 said:

From Matthew regarding forgiveness: "Jesus said to him, 'I do not say 7 times, but 70 times 7'"



Excommunication, as David stated, is extreme. The Church is all about forgiveness and the Lord's mercy. This is seen even in the Old Testament, despite people's interpretation of the OT as vengeful. The Good Lord keeps forgiving. We're called to do the same, despite the fact it sometimes seems almost repugnant to do so.



In the culture of the times, there were what we now "cover-ups", but this was an accepted practice, not only with the Church, but with other institutions as well. For example, school teachers were merely transferred to another district with no record following them; Scout leaders were merely told to leave the organization. That didn't make it right and we now see the consequences of hiding these repulsive actions. A lot of damage has been done and it will take years to rebuild the Church's reputation.



As David also mentioned, there are clergy who have been falsely accused. Some might not be able to prove their innocence; in fact, several alleged abusers are now deceased and cannot defend themselves. We discover innocent people in prison. Should we handle the clergy abuse situation the same way?



There are procedures currently in existence. If followed correctly there should be no need to add more harsh penalties.

--hide--


What about for coverups? I'm referring to the bishops here.
Mar 5th 2013 new

(Quote) John-220051 said: What about for coverups? I'm referring to the bishops here.
(Quote) John-220051 said:

What about for coverups? I'm referring to the bishops here.
--hide--
The quote from Matthew's Gospel applies to all.

While offending Bishops should know better, they are human and subject to many of the same frailties of the human condition. In proven cases where it's been clearly demonstrated that the purpose was to cover-up incidents of abuse (as opposed to following accepted practices of the time although it's difficult to separate them) and neglecting the victims, I would think demotion would be in order, of the offending bishop shows remorse. If criminal offenses are involved on their part, they can face civil authorities.

Again, abuse isn't and wasn't limited to Church priests and hierarchy. There are several professions and areas where abuse occurred (teachers, Scout leaders, baby-sitters, and in-family situations). We expect more from our Church clergy; they should be held to a higher standard. Yet, they commit sins just as the rest of us do. No human is immune from that.

That's not justification -- just fact.

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