Loading
Pope showed wisdom and firmness against abuses as CDF prefect, says Msgr. Scicluna

.- The Avvenire newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference printed an interview on Saturday which sheds light on how cases of sexual abuse are dealt with in the Catholic Church. The role of then-Cardinal Ratzinger in the providing the guidelines for the Congregation's processing of 3,000 cases in the last nine years is also examined.

Avvenire interviewed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's "promoter of justice," Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, who investigates crimes against the Eucharist, the sanctity of the Sacrament of Penance and the sixth commandment, "You shall not commit adultery," all of which fall under the category of "delicta graviora" (serious transgressions).

In the interview, which is printed in its entirety in English on Vatican Radio's website, Msgr. Scicluna affirms the Church's historically firm stance against pedophilia, saying that "the condemnation of this kind of crime has always been firm and unequivocal." He concedes, however, that in practice "It may be that in the past - perhaps also out of a misdirected desire to protect the good name of the institution - some bishops were ... too indulgent towards this sad phenomenon."

He added that secrecy in the cases has not been practiced to hide facts, but has been employed in the "investigative phase" to protect "the good name of all the people involved; first and foremost, the victims themselves, then the accused priests who have the right - as everyone does - to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty."

"The Church does not like showcase justice," he underscored.

Msgr. Scicluna said that the accusation that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had covered up the facts as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is "false and calumnious." He added that the future Pope had displayed "great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases."

"Therefore," he said, "to accuse the current Pontiff of a cover-up is, I repeat, false and calumnious."

A "poor" translation of the English version of a text called “Instruction Crimen Sollicitation” from Pius XI's pontificate in 1922, "has led people to think that the Holy See imposed secrecy in order to hide the facts," he explained.

Msgr. Scicluna revealed that when a priest is accused of a delictum gravius (serious transgressions), first the local bishop must investigate the accusation and find it to be well founded. If the outcome of the first investigation sustains the accusations, the case is referred to the disciplinary office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In the last nine years, said Msgr. Scicluna, the Congregation has dealt with three thousand cases of crimes committed over the last fifty years by diocesan and religious priests. He added that "about 60 percent of the cases chiefly involved sexual attraction towards adolescents of the same sex, another 30 percent involved heterosexual relations, and the remaining 10 percent were cases of pedophilia in the true sense of the term."

These 300 cases, he continued, "are of course too many, but it must be recognized that the phenomenon is not as widespread as has been believed."

Of those accused, twenty percent had a full trial, the majority of which resulted in convictions, he indicated. Sixty percent of cases did not go to trial, mostly due to the advanced age of the accused, but, he assured, administrative and disciplinary provisions have been issued against them.

"It must be made absolutely clear that in these cases, some of which are particularly sensational and have caught the attention of the media, no absolution (of the crime) has taken place," he emphasized.

For 10 percent of the remaining 20 percent of cases, "in which the proof is overwhelming, the Holy Father has assumed the painful responsibility of authorizing a decree of dismissal from the clerical state."

In the final 10 percent the accused priests themselves requested dispensation from their priestly obligations, "requests which were promptly accepted," the monsignor said.

Most of the 3,000 cases, he said, have come from the United States, but the percentage of cases from the U.S. has dropped in recent years.

Last year, of 223 cases reported worldwide, around 25 percent came from the U.S.

Although there has been an average of 250 cases a year in the last few years, Msgr. Scicluna said the number is "reduced."

"It must, in fact, be borne in mind that the overall number of diocesan and religious priests in the world is four hundred thousand, but this statistic does not correspond to the perception that is created when these sad cases occupy the front pages of the newspapers," he said.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
28

Liturgical Calendar

August 28, 2014

Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 24:42-51

Gospel
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14
08/26/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 1: 1-9
Gospel:: Mt 24: 42-51

Saint of the Day

St. Augustine »

Saint
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 24:42-51

Homily
Date
08/28/14
08/27/14
08/26/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: