Pope sends bishops secret warning

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The Gossips, by Norman Rockwell


The Gossips, by Norman Rockwell

The Gossips, by Norman Rockwell

The Gossips, by Norman Rockwell

Well, maybe not exactly secret. But in the letter he sent yesterday to the heads of bishops conferences and religious orders around the world, Francis made it clear to insiders, in a way most outsiders won’t grasp, that Rome has changed how it looks at the cover-up of child sexual abuse. The letter, sent at the request of the commission on the protection of minors Francis established last March, includes the following key paragraph:

Families need to know that the Church is making every effort to protect their children.  They should also know that they have every right to turn to the Church with full confidence, for it is a safe and secure home. Consequently, priority must not be given to any other kind of concern, whatever its nature, such as the desire to avoid scandal, since there is absolutely no place in ministry for those who abuse minors.

“The desire to avoid scandal” is not just one concern among many. It is the key reason given in document after internal diocesan document explaining why a priest credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor is being quietly shuffled off to another parish, another diocese, another country — anything other than reported to the civil authorities and the faithful.

And that’s because “scandal” means more ecclesiastically than it does in common parlance. Aquinas defines it as an unrighteous word or deed that occasions the ruin of another, the idea being that sinful activity, if known to others, begets more sin. For that reason, Canon Law (1352) mandates the suspension of punishment “either in whole or in part to the extent that the offender cannot observe it without the danger of grave scandal or loss of good name.”

What the pope is telling church leaders is that the doctrine of scandal can no longer be used to rationalize keeping abusive priests in ministry. No wonder commission member Marie Collins said that the letter “lends the backing necessary to our work.”

  • ClevelandGirl

    Note that he doesn’t say a word about not fighting abuse survivors in court. He does not order the clerics to stop protecting church finances by any means necessary. It can be assumed that he still wants clerics to protect church finances at all costs, even if it hurts or destroys abuse survivors. Therefore, this is all just sound and fury signifying nothing.

  • Glenn Harrell

    On the same day, I am reading a religious law that feigns protective cover for perverts and rapists who just happen to wear the robe of a priest.

    Then one that calls for the “legal” burning of an “infidel”.

    Surely there is an island to which such believers can be assigned–can commune as friend with friend– and give us all some peace from religious debauchery and lunacy.

    Such an island potential exists but the Pope would have to make it a law and we know how the Popes feel about that.

  • Michael Skiendzielewski

    Mark, the statement below is a direct quote from the Pope’s letter regarding these matters:

    “…For all of these reasons, I now ASK for your close and complete cooperation with the Commission for the Protection of Minors….”
    (capitals inserted for emphasis)

    And what are the consequences should certain bishops and cardinals choose NOT to cooperate with the work of the Commission for the Protection of Minors? In those dioceses, who will ensure that the rules, regulations and protocol are being followed as outlined in the Pope’s letter? Non-compliance is not that unlikely given that we had certain dioceses here in the US that would not conduct or allow audits of their programs as directed by the USCCB guidelines relative to clergy abuse.

  • JuneAnnette

    And what of the PONTIFICAL SECRET, a legal loophole / technicality in RC Canon Law that remains in force and insures that the cover up of Roman Catholic clergy abuse crimes will continue! This is what transparency and accountability in the unholy Roman Catholic “church” looks like!
    READ it and Weep: Popes ordered silence, former judge Kieran Tapsell claims in book / Source: Newcastle Herald – Australia / May 27, 2014

    A FORMER NSW judge who studied to be a priest with a future notorious Hunter child sex offender has launched a devastating critique of the Catholic Church’s six popes, including two new saints, who covered up a global child sex abuse crisis for nearly a century.

    Popes Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI, Benedict XVI and the recently named papal saints John Paul II and John XXIII ‘‘effectively facilitated child sexual abuse’’, retired acting NSW district court judge Kieran Tapsell argues in his new book, Potiphar’s Wife: The Vatican’s Secret and Child Sexual Abuse.

    While canon law until 1917 required sex offender priests to be dismissed and reported to police, a series of canon law changes and papal decrees since imposed a ‘‘permanent silence’’ that continues to prohibit reporting of some matters in some Australian states even today, Tapsell said.

    He reserved some of his most devastating criticism for Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who blamed Irish bishops in 2010 after the release of damning reports into child sexual abuse in that country, but failed to mention bishops were prohibited from reporting cases to police.

    ‘‘The cover-up of child sexual abuse did not occur because of bad faith or incompetence on the part of bishops, albeit in some cases that existed, but because they were ordered to cover it up through canon law by six popes since Pius XI in 1922,’’ Tapsell said.

    Benedict XVI ‘‘knew that he was part of the Roman Curia that was administering, confirming and entrenching a system of privilege of clergy that not only protected child sex offenders from going to jail, but that led to further sex attacks by them on children’’.

    While Australian bishops in the 1990s had shown ingenuity and even courage in trying to deal with child sex offender priests including the notorious Hunter priest Denis McAlinden, that courage had ‘‘now gone out the window’’ because they refused to ‘‘face the truth about the six popes who have orchestrated a cover-up’’.

    Tapsell trained to be a priest for six years in the 1960s. He remembers fellow trainee, the late Hunter priest Jim Fletcher, as ‘‘just an average sort of person’’ whose conviction in 2005 for child sex offences was a shock.

    Pope Francis’s comments on the child sexual abuse crisis were a concern, but secular inquiries like the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry, the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into Hunter cases, and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would force change, Tapsell said.

    ‘‘Some things are already clear because of the royal commission. Towards Healing [the Australian Catholic Church’s system of dealing with child sexual abuse cases] is finished. The days of the Church investigating itself are finished.’’

    Potiphar’s Wife: The Vatican’s Secret and Child Sexual Abuse, ATF Press.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Child abuse, child sexual abuse is against the law in the secular government of the United States. Any abuse by a priest, pastor, bishop, youth leader, teacher, father, mother or any other person is against many laws throughout the United States. Laws of reporting such are very clear.
    Every state as a agency for child protected services. Usually something like Department of Family and Children Services in each state. Also Police and Sheriff departments have trained personnel to help the victim. THERE SHOULD NEVER BE A CHURCH OR A PARISH INVESTIGATION OF THE MATTER BEFORE REPORTING ANY ALLEGED ABUSE. REPORT FIRST to the proper authorities let them handle it.

    It doesn’t matter what “Law” the Pope in Rome might establish, it is a social and legal matter.
    Nothing lets the parish or church member off the hook by reporting such abuse to a church authority.

    In the 1980’s I was a clinical chaplain at a state prison, an inmate which was a priest who had been convicted of child sexual abuse was in our prison. The state allow the priest to simply be deported back to Europe. I’m sure that meant he would be freed to do more harm wherever the went. That is the fault of government and the church. This would not have happened if there had been an outcry from the church members and other citizens.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Catholics evidently, too many still see the priest standing up to represent them to God. You don’t need a powerful father/priest to obey or to forgive your sins in the name of God. Theology has to change to a more Biblical understanding in order to empower the laity to not allow any priest or bishop to have power over them. Child sexual by priest is helped by such attitudes of the “holy father” concept.

  • drwho13

    Chaplain Martin, Here’s the problem. From a very early age us Catholics are brainwash to believe that at the time of ordination to the priesthood an ontological change takes place in that person. This ontological change gives the priest the power to forgive sins. So, Catholics believe that there is no way for them to get to Heaven without going through a priest if they have committed a serious sin. If one believes that a priest is needed to attain Heaven, priests have enormous power over believers. The control they have over some Catholics unbelievable. Due to the deep indoctrination (brainwashing) it is very difficult to overcome this burden.

  • JuneAnnette

    Recommended Reading for those following this discussion:
    The Roman Catholic “church” has always maintained that Canon law trumps civil law. Moreover, they have likewisesought to suppress freedom of religion wherever it held sway and has proven to be a threat to both religious and civil liberties. This they do through their CONCORDATS.
    1) “A concordat is a legal agreement between a country and the Vatican. It can set up a theological fiefdom where certain human rights do not apply—and where they can never again be reintroduced without the consent of the Catholic Church. This is why concordats represent a fundamental threat to both democracy and human rights. The Vatican finds many uses for its approximately 200 current concordats. In May 2012 the Italian bishops even said that their concordat excused them from having to report to the police suspected cases of child abuse by fellow priests.”

    2) IRELAND . . a CATHOLIC country by design, powerfully illustrates what happens when the RC “church” gains control of a nation and the rights of individuals are subordinated to the church!

    Citations: 1) Article: ‘Concordats – human rights – separation of church and state / Source: Concordat Watch

    2) Article: ‘Everything you need to know about Ireland’s disaffected Catholics / Source: the week / June 28, 2014

  • Chaplain Martin

    The United States is a nation with the separation of powers. The Catholic Church or any other church or religion has no power over the state and the state has no power over religion and religious beliefs. This is a secular country in spite of what historical revisionist print and say.
    Giving a priest or bishop or pope power over the individual conscience of a person is no better than “the divine right of kings.” Actually it makes the Catholic Church seem like a cult to put so much power in an individual.

    drwho13 pointed out the brain washing of Catholics from a early age. The Catholic kept the Bible out of the common language of the people, even burning those who translated it from the Latin, Greek, Hebrew.

  • JuneAnnette

    Chaplain Martin . . speaking as a former Roman Catholic converted to Christ, I could not agree with you more. Roman Catholicism is indeed a cult. Christ is the only rightful “head ” of His church and the “saviour of the body.”, not the pope. (Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23) Historically the RC hierarchy, has sought to keep their flock (the laity) ignorant of the Scriptures in order to keep them in check and in bondage to priestcraft.
    I thank God (who is sovereign) that He did not leave me in spiritual darkness, and it was His good pleasure to shine the light of the knowledge of the glory God in the face of Jesus Christ into my heart. (II Cor. 4:6) The gospel of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ has brought light, life and immortality into my soul. God’s Word is the antidote to the RC programming I was subjected to in my formative years. Through the gospel I have been set free from my bondage to sin that I might serve Christ in sincerity and in truth and in accord with His doctrine as it is revealed in the infallible, inerrant and inspired Scriptures of truth. Neither am I anymore in bondage to Rome’s contrived sacramental system of salvation, but have been set free in the liberty which is in Christ Jesus through the free and sovereign grace of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ. As Christ said “the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16)
    More on RC Canon law . . .Despite the Bishops’ repeated pledges of transparency, the vows of secrecy and the self-preservation mentality that gave rise to the SCANDAL remain the standard operating procedure in the unhallowed halls of Roman Catholicism. It is a policy of expediency that reflects the cold and callous indifference the “church” has toward the suffering and trauma of those who have been offered on the altars of priestly abuse, who have effectively been thrown under the bus and deemed “collateral damage”! SECRECY remains to this day the highest VIRTUE amongst the so-called “princes of the church”. For the “good of the church” remains the defining principle of the “hierarchy”, and the welfare and protection of children is subordinate to that!
    Richard Sipe, former R.C. Priest, who has served as a consultant or expert witness in 173 cases of sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic clergy, usually on behalf of plaintiffs enlarges upon the culture of SECRECY that pervades Roman Catholicism:
    59. When a priest inflicts abuse the consequences are exacerbated because of the individual, familial, and social esteem in which a “representative of God” and the church is held. A number of researchers hold that abuse by a trusted religious figure is the most damaging type of abuse even exceeding the effects of incest.
    60. Church authority and priests have been dedicated to preserve the image of the priesthood before the public and in the minds of the faithful since it is a fundamental source of power. That image is defined in the Catechism of the Council of Trent. “Bishops and priests being, as they are, God’s interpreters and ambassadors, empowered in His name to teach mankind the divine law and the rules of conduct, and holding, as they do, His place on earth, it is evident that no nobler function than theirs can be imagined. Justly, therefore, are they called not only angels, but even gods, because of the fact that they exercise in our midst the power and prerogatives of the immortal God.”

  • JuneAnnette

    Chaplain Martin .. with respect to your remark: “The United States is a nation with the separation of powers. The Catholic Church or any other church or religion has no power over the state and the state has no power over religion and religious beliefs.”
    In light of the recent announcement that the pope will address Congress in Sept. I think you will find an article entitled ‘The Roman Catholic Socialist Agenda’ by Richard Bennett, Biblical Apologist & former RC priest of 22 years of particular interest, from which I share an Excerpt:
    (start quote) At the present time, it is becoming more apparent that the Roman Catholic Church is first and foremost a socialist system.
    The Vatican officially states, “With her social doctrine, the Church aims ‘at helping man on the path of salvation.’ The Modus Operandi of the Vatican Socialist System
    The Roman Church seeks to implement her socialist ideas by using her power as a religious system working through her own status as a civil state. As a religious system, she is able to command a “fifth column” within many nations. By her influence as a civil power, Papal Rome is also able to substantially influence civil rulers and civil policy in many nations and international bodies. The Church of Rome has 179 legal agreements with nations across the world. These “concordats,” as they are called, guarantee that the Catholic Church has the right to define religion and worship for Catholics within that sovereign nation. They also secure for the Vatican the right to define doctrine, establish Catholic education, and negotiate laws regarding property, appointing bishops, and Catholic laws of marriage and annulments. Thus, the Vatican is able to make use of civil governments to implement its own agenda.
    Decidedly, the Vatican has on its agenda for the United States a change from constitutionalism to socialism. This the U.S. Bishops made clear in 1995 when they stated,
    “In the pastoral letter we suggest that the time has come for a ‘New American Experiment’—to implement economic rights, to broaden the sharing of economic power, and to make economic decisions more accountable to the common good. This new experiment can create new structures of economic partnership and participation within firms at the regional level, for the whole nation, and across borders.” 1) (end quote)

    1) “Economic Justice for All,” Para. 21

    NOTE: Mr. Bennett’s article can be read online at Berean Beacon Ministries

  • JuneAnnette

    Chaplain Martin .. with respect to your remark: “The United States is a nation with the separation of powers. The Catholic Church or any other church or religion has no power over the state and the state has no power over religion and religious beliefs.”
    In light of the recent announcement that the pope will address Congress in Sept. I think you will find an article entitled ‘The Roman Catholic Socialist Agenda’ by Richard Bennett, Biblical Apologist & former RC priest of 22 years of particular interest, from which I share another Excerpt:
    Vatican Aligns with Socialist Theories of Government
    Catholic social doctrine continues to be honed for accumulating power to the Papacy. In its claimed status of spiritual moral authority, the Catholic Church makes known its opinion regarding the duties of civil government when it states,
    “Society as a whole, acting through public and private institutions, has the moral responsibility to enhance human dignity and protect human rights. In addition to the clear responsibility of private institutions, government has an essential responsibility in this area [because]…Human rights are the minimum conditions for life in community. In Catholic teaching, human rights include not only civil and political rights but also economic rights. As Pope John XXIII declared, ‘all people have a right to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, education, and employment.’”
    The Catholic Church teaches a role for civil government that is beyond the purpose designated to it by Scripture. The civil government is meant to constrain evil behavior.2 Thus, people are to obey their civil government in order to avoid anarchy and chaos. It is the individual’s responsibility to provide food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, etc., for his own family. As Scripture states, “if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”1 The Papal Church contradicts this by asserting that individuals have a “right” to such things. Moreover, the Vatican insists emphatically that private institutions and civil governments have an essential duty to provide such things. The Papal Church teaches a socialist policy regarding the duties of civil governments. In so doing, the Vatican hopes to set itself up as the moral watchdog for society, both within nations and internationally.
    NOTE: Mr. Bennett’s article can be read online at Berean Beacon Ministries

  • Chaplain Martin

    June Annette,
    Thank you for your informative remarks. While I agree with many of your statements, however, the one in which you wrote: “Scripture states, if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” This scriptural reference is often out of context as a way to reduce or eliminate social programs from the federal and state budgets. If, and that’s a big “if”, Non-government Organizations (NGO’s) had the funds and the means to address all the needs such as poverty, and unemployment then government would not need to step in. If Christians alone provided help for those in need then there would be little need for government to get involved. In my chaplaincy ministry, and counseling ministry, I have worked with felons, homeless, drug/alcohol addicted, the poor, and the mentally ill. In the Church food closet in which I counseled, it wasn’t unusual for me to attempt to help a person whose health was such that they could not work. In many cases, if they had been able to receive good health care earlier, they could have worked a long time. The scripture you used states a general situation in which work is available, ability to work is assumed, and the care supposed to be given by the Hebrew culture is assumed. He just wont share with his family. As the old saying goes, “Its just not that simple.”

  • JuneAnnette

    Chaplain Martin . . again, with respect to your remark: “The United States is a nation with the separation of powers. The Catholic Church or any other church or religion has no power over the state and the state has no power over religion and religious beliefs.”
    In light of the recent announcement that the pope will address Congress in Sept., I would commend for your thoughtful and prayerful consideration an article entitled THE PAPACY AND CIVIL POWER by R.W.Thompson. Despite the year it was written (1876), I am certain you will find it especially relevant in our day. You can read it online at the Website: Open Library.

  • Chaplain Martin

    Thank you for your recommendation of the 1876 book. There have been many U. S. Supreme Court decisions and many laws including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act since his book was published. I will look up the R.W. Thompson book. I do recommend to you The Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Freedom. You can look it up on Google.

    The Pope coming to speak to congress an honor for him and technically he is the head of a very tiny state. I’m personally not sure this is a good idea for because of the political climate and the question: “Is this an endorsement of one faith over another?” I’m not sure the congress thinks that far or well, after all they invited the prime minister of Israel to speak before congress even though this harms the efforts of the administration to seeks at least some kind of an accord with Iran.
    A Pope and a Zionist, hmm.