Vatican City, Feb 5, 2004 / 22:00 pm
In a long speech addressed to members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope John Paul II said that canonical norms must be applied to punish priestly sexual misconduct, but the true solution of the problem lies at seminaries.
In the final part of his speech, the Pope addressed a “delicate and current question,” the “noteworthy increase” in disciplinary cases of “delicta graviora” –grave crimes- including “delicta contra mores” –crimes against social mores.
He said that canonical norms applied with justice and fairness “tend to guarantee the exercise of the right of defense of the accused as well as the needs of the common good”.
“Once there is evidence of the crime,” it is necessary to consider thoroughly the “just principle of proportionality between guilt and punishment, as well as the predominant need to protect the people of God.”