Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Let´s get serious Pope Benedict

Excerpt from

Prior to being Christ's Vicar on Earth, Pope Benedict's previous incarnation was the Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which centuries before took the biblical command to "not suffer a witch to live" seriously and went by a different name: the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

As defender of the faith, Ratzinger could have amended the Vatican's Crimen Sollicitationis [Crime of Solicitation], which originally drew guidelines for how the
church dealt with priests that used the confessional booth to solicit sex from parishioners, even the young. In 2001, Ratzinger revisited the document in a confidential letter to bishops reminding them of the strict penalties whistle blowers faced if they took the matter outside the church.

As David France reported in his book Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal, any accusation against a priest for paedophilia, as long as the allegedcrime wasn't more than 10 years ago, would trigger a church trial. The rub, however, was that the lawyers and jurors would all be priests sworn to secrecy. "Appeals," France wrote, "would go directly to an ecclesiastical tribunal in Rome, under Ratzinger's authority." More damning, priests that took part in the proceedings could not talk about them, the Irish Examiner reports, until 10 years after the child abused reached adulthood.

Lawyer Thomas O'Shea, who represented three young men allegedly olested by a former Houston seminarian, noted in the article that the Vatican's secrecy oath ensures that the statute of limitations for such crimes will have already run out in the US if any priest decided to speak out after his secrecy oath expired. The church rejected O'Shea's accusations and said Crimen Sollicitationis merely clarifies internal procedures. Nowhere in the policy are the victims and their rights mentioned, says canon lawyer Father Thomas Doyle.

Ratzinger had the power to change these polices but did nothing. He still does, Doyle told the BBC nearly two years ago, and advised that the church's policy should be: "[F]ull disclosure to the civil authorities, absolute isolation and dismissal of any accused and proven and convicted clerics, complete openness and transparency, complete openness of all financial situations, stop all barriers to the legal process and completely co-operate with the civil authorities everywhere."

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