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British inquiry into church sexual abuse blasts UK’s papal nuncio

Alexis Jay, right, chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and panel member Ivor Frank at a hearing in London. Photo courtesy of IICSA

LONDON (RNS) — A British government inquiry into the sexual abuse crisis that continues to shake the Catholic Church has focused on the actions of the Vatican’s diplomatic service — its network of papal nuncios around the world.

Under new policies put in place by Pope Francis, all sexual abuse cases now must be referred to the apostolic nuncio — effectively the pope’s ambassador — in every country, who in turn informs Rome.

But after tussles between Britain’s nuncio and the government’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, there is growing concern that the nuncios are using their diplomatic immunity to help the Catholic Church resist cooperating with police and civil investigations.

Andrew Soper, formerly known as Father Laurence Soper, was a fugitive for years after jumping bail. Photo courtesy of Metropolitan police

The government panel was first commissioned in July 2014 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May, now the prime minister, to investigate abuse after a series of scandals rocked public institutions, including the Church of England and the Catholic Church.

Headed by social services expert and professor Alexis Jay, the inquiry has been examining the case of the Benedictine monastery of Ealing Abbey in West London, where a former abbot, Laurence Soper, and a former deputy head teacher of its junior school, David Pearce, were both jailed for abuse of children.

Pearce, convicted in 2009, later had his eight-year prison sentence commuted to five after he pleaded guilty to sexual attacks on five boys, four of them under 14, over 36 years. Soper, who jumped bail and went missing for six years, was eventually rearrested and convicted in 2017 on 19 charges of assault against 10 pupils. His crimes included sadistic beatings and rape. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Archbishop Edward Adams is the apostolic nuncio to Great Britain. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

In 2011, the Vatican’s then-nuncio to the U.K. announced an apostolic visitation to Ealing Abbey.

In December last year, Jay asked the current nuncio, Archbishop Edward Adams, to give evidence about the visitation’s findings. The inquiry also wanted to hear more from the nuncio about why Abbot Soper was living and working in Rome while he was out on bail during his trial. Soper fled from Rome and was found in a hideout in Kosovo in 2016 after a Europol warrant was issued for his arrest.

It was later disclosed that while police were searching for him Soper had 400,000 pounds ($517,000) in a Vatican bank account and wrote on several occasions from his Kosovo base to the bank, asking for funds to be transferred to him.

Despite being asked on several occasions to provide information about what was discovered about abusive monks at Ealing during the nuncio’s apostolic visitation, and about what Rome knew about Soper’s bank funds, Adams has yet to cooperate, provoking fury among lawyers acting for survivors.

“No one, no matter how powerful or elevated they consider themselves to be, is above the law in this country and never when a child’s safety is at stake,” solicitor David Enright said. “It is a disgraceful attempt by the Catholic Church to withhold evidence on child abuse.”

Jay, the IICSA chair, said, “We are very disappointed about the lack of clarity from the nuncio and the Holy See.”

Under British law, Jay has the right to compel a potential witness to give evidence. If the witness does not comply with a so-called Section 21 notice, the witness can be prosecuted and jailed or be expelled from the United Kingdom. If the nuncio uses his diplomatic immunity to evade the notice, it could lead to a clash with the Foreign Office.

The chair and panel of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hear a case in London. Photo courtesy of IICSA

It would not be the first time papal diplomats have clashed with their hosts’ prosecutors over child abuse investigations. In 2013, Australia’s New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into child sexual abuse made repeated requests for documents from the archives of the nuncio at the time, Archbishop Paul Gallagher. Gallagher resisted for months, insisting correct procedure must be adhered to.

A similar appeal to protocol was used in Ireland when the Murphy Inquiry wrote directly in 2009 to Pope Benedict XVI asking for information. The Holy See responded that the direct approach was not acceptable.

Gallagher is now minister for relations with states in the Secretariat of State in Rome. He points out that the Vatican has every right to protect itself under Article 24 of the 1961 Vienna Convention, which stresses the inviolability of documents belonging to a diplomatic mission.

However, Gallagher himself set a precedent in Australia when, after months of negotiation, he handed over documents to the New South Wales inquiry. Meanwhile, the United Nations Committee Against Torture criticized the Holy See in 2014 for its lack of help in abuse cases.

As bishops gather in Rome this week for a synod on the sexual abuse crisis, the Ealing Abbey case may well be a topic of discussion, including what other documents lie hidden in nunciatures around the world. Pope Francis, if he really means to get to grips with the abuse scandal, may have to consider how his nuncios will fit into his reforms.

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Catherine Pepinster

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  • This is the reality of what Francis and the Vatican mean by transparency and accountability. Francis and his bishops may not intend to be hypocrites, but in practice that is exactly what they are.
    And the meeting this week will just be more all talk/no walk – a meeting to plan more meetings which will create plans of action and send them to the Vatican which will schedule a multitude of meetings over the next few years to scrutinize the plans of action and will then send the plans of action back to their originators to make the necessary changes and the originators will schedule meetings to make the changes and will then resubmit the plans of action to the Vatican which will then schedule a multitude of meetings …

  • “But after tussles between Britain’s nuncio and the government’s Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, there is growing concern that the nuncios are using their diplomatic immunity to help the Catholic Church resist cooperating with police and civil investigations.”

    Why, who would ever have foreseen that?

  • “Despite being asked on several occasions to provide information about what was discovered about abusive monks at Ealing during the nuncio’s apostolic visitation, and bout what Rome knew about Soper’s bank funds, Adams has yet to cooperate, provoking fury among lawyers acting for survivors.”

    Apparently “lawyers acting for survivors” is a polite British euphemism for what we call her blood-sucking greedy attorneys.

    The Apostolic Nuncio should tell them to bugger off.

  • Makes me think of some scripture that I’ve been reading recently – it’s a bit long, but it makes a valid point:
    “17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
    21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s[e] head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.”
    Sometimes people get beheaded for doing right. I am not saying that child abuse is “doing something right,” but I am saying things aren’t always what they seem, particularly with an evil adult and the church.
    Verify before accusing.

  • “Concern is one thing, proof is another.”

    Says our resident nominee for designation as “Extraordinary Keeper of the Papal Chamber Pot”, an honor that comes with a miniature porcelain piece emblazoned with a gold papal seal and attached to a faux silver necklace.

    Quite appropriate.

  • The Apostolic Nuncio is too busy protecting perpetrators to tell them anything. And if it weren’t for lawyers, there would be no progress at all in addressing this problem. You’re welcome.

  • The Catholic church has always been about power and controlling the behavior–and the thinking–of members. The history of the RCC makes it clear that there has never been any concern at all for the good or welfare of the sheeple.

    And no one should confuse my views of the Catholic church, as an institution, with my views about individual Catholics. Of the Catholics I know, the overwhelming number are fine people who are disturbed by what their church does, and are in effect victims.

  • Are you sure that God has time to act on your report? Shouldn’t He be trying to figure out what to do about His Creation that He has screwed up. Or maybe that is the problem. God is so obsessed with the petty details that He just isn’t able to grasp the bigger picture.

  • There is no evidence that the Apostolic Nuncio is protecting perpetrators.

    The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the UK, like the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia before it, is a political sideshow.

    Thanks to the First Amendment this sort of nonsense can’t be perpetrated in the USA.

    The Independent Inquiry lacks the authority to compel the Apostolic Nuncio – who has diplomatic immunity – to provide evidence of any kind and he should not and most likely will not disregard it.

  • Oh, I don’t think that they even give a thought to whether they’re being hypocritical. The institution has taught them that anything that they say is correct, and that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. From their perspective, it’s impossible, by definition, for them to be hypocrites. They’re always right — no matter what.

  • “The history of the RCC–and of course, its dogmas– makes it clear that
    there has never been any concern at all for the good or welfare of the
    sheeple.”

    That statement makes clear two things:

    – you know nothing about the Catholic Church;

    – you do know what you like to throw in the mud and jump up and down on.

  • So, don’t join it.

    Problem solved.

    Btw, “anything that they say is correct, and that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong” describes Bilgrimage.

  • Report as you will, M’am. As of this date, at least 6 fellow bloggers appreciate my metaphorical approach to describing Mr. “Connelly”. We are blogging, not meeting in the parson’s house at a tea party.

  • Truthfully, everyone could agree with you, but you are the one putting your integrity in question and they won’t have to answer for it

  • You’re projecting. Puzzed that you would use the term “permanently offended” – since you drone on with constant offense over criticism of the Church.

  • I don’t believe I have responded once to anything you wrote until now, so that must be all in your head.

  • “anything that they say is correct, and that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong”
    __________

    That describes the RCC’s fundamentalist parasites.

  • They never showed any concern for the good or welfare of the Native Americans whose culture and language were crushed and whose children were kidnapped and abused.

  • M’am, I’m concerned with my “integrity” only when a critic (such as yourself in this instance) offers something with which I agree. We disagree.

  • The American Indians were about to be exterminated.

    The various church organizations – not just Catholic – taught them modern farming methods, provided suitable means to defend themselves from their war-like cousins, and otherwise provided a basis for them to end the 19th century and enter the 20th.

    Some of the aqueducts and other appurtenances are still extant and functioning in places like California, where the Indians’ progeny still attend church.

    The errors were those of the 18th and 19th mindsets, not of religious belief, and were not all the white side.

    You may want to touch base with alwayspuzzled, who is also a disgruntled Native American.

  • “The American Indians were about to be exterminated.”
    ___________________

    They were exterminated by Catholicism.

  • Actually… yes. It’s history. The boarding schools, the child abuse, their language forbidden, forced to accept baptism and the imposition of disease.

  • I’m not the one telling you to go somewhere else. And I will never click on one of your propagandist links.

  • And I continue to enjoy the quiet.

    I assume you realize you’ve let more of your cat of your bag as to some of the sources over your over-the-top anti-Catholicism.

  • No, it’s your take on history.

    The Church did not “impose” disease.

    So, we have a gay Indian with an axe (or tomahawk?) to grind who blames the Church, and I assume the white people as well.

    Anyone else on your hate list?

  • And the shadows of an illiterate rabbi from Nazareth and Henry VIII continue to envelope the UK. “Out damn spot !!!”

  • You have a predictable pattern of denying your Church’s evil.

    Catholic parishes rarely examine the church’s record of actively participating in the federal government’s conquest and colonization of Native Americans and the West, part of the church’s effort in the 19th and 20th centuries to gain mainstream acceptance in America. Numerous bishops and priests partnered with federal officials and their Protestant rivals in a shared project of forced assimilation of indigenous people, participating in family separations and involuntary placement of Native American children in boarding schools where abuses regularly occurred.

    Colonizing indigenous land and constructing walls, both figurative and literal, to win public influence and political power is not a new story in American Catholic history. Many white Catholics of the Reconstruction Era and Gilded Age depicted Native Americans in racist, infantilized ways. Historian Carol Berg argues that even when they had “the best of intentions, most missionaries failed to respect Indian culture for its own worth.” They denigrated indigenous cultures in attempts to fuse Catholicism and Americanism at a time when Catholics were frequently considered inherently un-American. They then used this colonizing experience to help spread the American empire beyond the country’s borders at the turn of the 20th century.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/20/catholic-churchs-shameful-history-native-american-abuses/

  • The National Catholic Reporter and Conscience, published by Catholics for Choice, are both excellent journals. That’s why Connelly/Arnzen despises them.

  • “There is no evidence that the Apostolic Nuncio is protecting perpetrators.”

    Why then is he refusing to cooperate with the inquiry then? Why not come before the commission to clear his name and the Church’s name of accusations if he is innocent and there is nothing to hide?

    “The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the UK, like the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia before it, is a political sideshow.”

    I find it hard to believe that the UK investigation, the Australian investigation, the Irish investigation, the Pennsylvania investigation, the Boston investigation, etc., etc. were all political sideshows, especially given that the Vatican admits there is a problem with abuse. Do you believe the Australian royal commission on banking and financial services is also a political sideshow?

    Two senior monks and teachers were jailed for a series of offenses against pupils at St. Benedict’s School in west London. One of them, Laurence Soper, aka Andrew Soper, was found guilty of 19 rapes and sexual offenses at St Benedict’s, jumped bail. and fled to Kosovo to escape justice. The inquiry heard that the Vatican bank knew Soper’s whereabouts including at one point his address during the five years that he was in hiding in Kosovo, yet they failed to tell British police. Soper had kept in regular contact with the bank, withdrawing £200,000 over five years. British police officers had submitted formal requests to the Apostolic Nunciature for information on Soper’s bank transactions but had never received a response. See https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/11348/nuncio-criticised-for-undermining-pope-on-child-abuse for more details. Don’t you think the UK government has a legitimate interest in inquiring about how this could happen? If there is an innocent explanation, and it is, of course, possible, if perhaps embarrassing, shouldn’t the Nuncio be willing to provide it?

    “Thanks to the First Amendment this sort of nonsense can’t be perpetrated in the USA.”

    Inquiries into criminal conduct are not nonsense and not prohibited by the First Amendment. It is the Fifth Amendment that prohibits self-incrimination.

    “The Independent Inquiry lacks the authority to compel the Apostolic Nuncio – who has diplomatic immunity – to provide evidence of any kind and he should not provide any response and should disregard it.”

    Quite true. But the British government has the authority to expel the Nuncio from the country. Why should the UK continue to have diplomatic relations with the Vatican given the Nuncio’s conduct?

  • “Why then is he refusing to cooperate with the inquiry then?”

    Because the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the UK is impertinent.

    “I find it hard to believe that the UK investigation, the Australian investigation, the Irish investigation, the Pennsylvania investigation, the Boston investigation, etc., etc. were all political sideshows, especially given that the Vatican admits there is a problem with abuse.”

    Your difficulty in believing appears to be your problem.

    I will point out that you’re describing three different types of things with three different legal bases in three different countries.

    “The inquiry heard that the Vatican bank knew Soper’s whereabouts including at one point his address during the five years that he was in hiding in Kosovo, yet they failed to tell British police.”

    What was their legal obligation under what country’s law to tell the British police?

    Did the British make inquiry at the “Vatican Bank”? (There really is no “Vatican Bank”, but we’ll go on as though there were.)

    “British police officers had submitted formal requests to the Apostolic Nunciature for information on Soper’s bank transactions but had never received a response.”

    The Apostolic Nuncio is not the proper contact for the “Vatican Bank”.

    “Don’t you think the UK government has a legitimate interest in inquiring about how this could happen?”

    This appears to be some sort of inquiry but not by the UK government directly, or by its law enforcement.

    “Inquiries into criminal conduct are not nonsense and not prohibited by the First Amendment.”

    Obviously you are no attorney.

    Here criminal inquiries are not made through appointed commissions.

    Something like the UK and Australia bodies have no basis in American law.

    Recommendations as were made in Australia for changes in the teachings and disciplines of churches are forbidden by the First Amendment.

    “But the British government has the authority to expel the Nuncio from the country.”

    And it will have to cross that bridge when things get there.

    Somehow I don’t think the British government is going to go that far, nor would doing so harm either the Nuncio or the Church.

    Your high regard for governments mucking about in religions given your status as a citizen of the Australian Commonwealth is understandable, but Americans generally don’t see things that way, and the Vatican does not normally cooperate with fishing expeditions.

  • Calling Fr. Junipero Serra a “psychopath” brands you as a psychopath.

    The anti-Catholic appellation, of course, you earned decades ago.

  • The National Catholic Reporter is neither Catholic nor national. It is, in fact, going out of business fairly rapidly as its overaged readership – still waiting for the revolution that will never come – dodders off into senility.

    Catholics for Choice was founded by anti-Catholic abortion clinic owner, its membership excommunicated, and one thing it assuredly lacks is Catholics.

  • You have a predictable anti-Catholic bias which colors your entire perspective to the point that you cannot hold an intelligent conversation.

  • No, I do not.

    There was a flurry of anti-Serra activity as his canonization was being finalized.

    The sources were the usual anti-Catholics.

    It’s not worth another minute of time.

  • I paint what I see.

    You do a pretty good Grand Inquisitor yourself – you sure know who you hate and what nonsense you like to promote.

  • “The National Catholic Reporter is neither Catholic nor national…blah, blah, blah.”

    Says our nominee.

  • Mark, you can sneer, but I can assure you that the Catholic Church in Australia took the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse very seriously, and did not sneer. Here are some quotations from the Catholic Church’s response to the Royal Commission:

    Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia’s Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, August 2018
    https://www.catholic.org.au/all-downloads/bishops-1/media-releases-1/2139-acbc-and-cra-response-to-the-royal-commission/file

    “the Commission focused powerfully and painfully on the suffering of those abused, on the Church’s failure to address their suffering, the challenge this presents, and what is required if we are to ensure justice and compassion for those who have been abused, and a safer Church for all now and in the years ahead” Page 4

    ‘The ACBC [Australian Catholic Bishops Conference] and CRA [Catholic Religious Australia] are grateful to the Royal Commission for the service it has rendered to both the country and the Catholic Church, and we thank especially the survivors of abuse who showed such courage in coming forward to bear witness to their suffering. To them and their families we offer our sincere and unreserved apology, and we commit anew to doing whatever we can to heal the wounds of abuse and to make the Church a truly safe place for all. We renew to all our expression of profound sorrow that children and young people were abused by clergy, religious and lay workers of the Catholic Church, and that many bishops and religious leaders failed to act to prevent abuse and to report offenders to police.’ page 4

    ‘The Pope’s recent Letter to the People of God makes clear that the Church’s response at the highest level begins with the acknowledgement of grave sin and failure by bishops and religious leaders and a culture of clericalism. Our response in Australia gives local shape to the action required to address such failure and the need for cultural change.’ page 6

    ‘Our hope and prayer is that all that we have done, are doing and will do may help to bring healing to those so gravely harmed when in the Church’s care. In conclusion we make our own the words of Pope Francis in his Letter to the People of God: “Looking back to the past, no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient. Looking ahead to the future, no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated”.’ page 6

    Mark, all I am asking you to do is to follow the lead set here by the Pope and the bishops of your church.

  • No, your mind is made up, Permanently Offended Guy:

    – Catholic Church bad

    – people who disagree with you bad

    – missionaries bad

    – white people bad

    and so on.

  • Don’t you think the Church has a moral obligation to cooperate in the search for a fugitive monk and convicted rapist? Government has a right to investigate crime, and religion should not be a cover for rape or the refusal to cooperate in the search for a convicted fugitive rapist or to hide how this situation came about.

    You seem to have something against legal inquiries both in the U.S. and in other countries.

    The UK inquiry in question is both independent and statutory. Being independent means the Inquiry is not part of government and not run by a government department. It is not run by the politicians. It is hard then to complain it is run for political show. Being statutory means the Inquiry was legally set up under the Inquiries Act 2005 and has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.

    In the U.S. we have a long tradition of inquiries, for example, the Rogers Commission (the Challenger disaster) and the Warren Commission (the Kennedy assassination). The U.S. has had many congressional inquiries, many of them famous, some about religion. From 1950 to 1951, committee members, led by Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, visited 14 U.S. cities, interviewed hundreds of witnesses and uncovered evidence of links between gangsters and corrupt public officials. From 1975 to 1976 Sen. Frank Church of Idaho headed up a sweeping investigation of intelligence agencies revealing a wide range of abuses. The Smoot hearings from 1904 to 1907 specifically investigated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, imposing an extraordinary strain on that church. Every major leader of the Church was subpoenaed to testify in Washington. In the end Senator Smoot retained his Senate seat.

    FYI I am a US citizen, though I have lived in Australia and have a very high regard for that country. I also developed a taste for Vegemite. I don’t object to your defending the Catholic Church, about which you are obviously well versed and to which you are obviously devoted. That’s fine. But I think your attacks against multiple governments are ill-founded and largely consist of accusations without evidence against those governments other than that they reached conclusions you don’t agree with.

  • “Don’t you think the Church has a moral obligation to cooperate in the search for a fugitive monk and convicted rapist?”

    You have not convinced me that it did not.

    “You seem to have something against legal inquiries both in the U.S. and in other countries.”

    The UK inquiry is not a legal procedure like an American Grand Jury.

    It is designed to relieve pressure by the populace on the government to do something.

    The Australian example would dissuade me from cooperating.

    “Being statutory means the Inquiry was legally set up under the Inquiries Act 2005 and has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.”

    Except, of course, if they’re not British subjects.

    The Rogers Commission was an investigation of a particular complex event. It did not purport to be a legal inquiry.

    The Warren Commission was a political stunt of dubious value which made several grievous errors and wound up in the long run looking more like a cover-up than something of great value. It also was not a legal inquiry.

    “FYI I am a US citizen, though I have lived in Australia and have a very high regard for that country.”

    You might want to get your story straight, mate.

    Were I the Catholic hierarchy in the UK, I’d give this endeavor the widest possible berth.

    It will soon begin importing anti-Catholics from the USA like the Australian endeavor did, mucking about in the internal affairs of churches, without any lasting benefit.

    Nothing good will come out of it, and nothing good came out of the Australian version.

  • Some further evidence of how these inquiries can go walkabout:

    https://www{DOT}childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/recommendations

    consider these “Royal Commission” intrusions into Catholic theology, doctrine, and discipline:

    Recommendations to the Catholic Church

    Recommendation 16.8

    In the interests of child safety and improved institutional responses to child sexual abuse, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to:

    b. establish a transparent process for appointing bishops which includes the direct participation of lay people.

    Recommendation 16.12

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to remove the time limit (prescription) for commencement of canonical actions relating to child sexual abuse. This amendment should apply retrospectively.

    Recommendation 16.16

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to introduce measures to ensure that Vatican Congregations and canonical appeal courts always publish decisions in disciplinary matters relating to child sexual abuse, and provide written reasons for their decisions. Publication should occur in a timely manner. In some cases it may be appropriate to suppress information that might lead to the identification of a victim.

    Recommendation 16.17

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to remove the requirement to destroy documents relating to canonical criminal cases in matters of morals, where the accused cleric has died or ten years have elapsed from the condemnatory sentence. In order to allow for delayed disclosure of abuse by victims and to take account of the limitation periods for civil actions for child sexual abuse, the minimum requirement for retention of records in the secret archives should be at least 45 years.

    Recommendation 16.18

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy.

    Recommendation 16.19

    All Catholic religious institutes in Australia, in consultation with their international leadership and the Holy See as required, should implement measures to address the risks of harm to children and the potential psychological and sexual dysfunction associated with a celibate rule of religious life. This should include consideration of whether and how existing models of religious life could be modified to facilitate alternative forms of association, shorter terms of celibate commitment, and/or voluntary celibacy (where that is consistent with the form of association that has been chosen).

    Recommendation 16.26

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should consult with the Holy See, and make public any advice received, in order to clarify whether:

    a. information received from a child during the sacrament of reconciliation that they have been sexually abused is covered by the seal of confession

    b. if a person confesses during the sacrament of reconciliation to perpetrating child sexual abuse, absolution can and should be withheld until they report themselves to civil authorities.

    and so on.

  • I of III

    Some further evidence of how these inquiries can go walkabout:

    https://www{DOT}childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/recommendations

    consider these “Royal Commission” intrusions into Catholic theology, doctrine, and discipline:

    Recommendations to the Catholic Church

    Recommendation 16.8

    In the interests of child safety and improved institutional responses to child sexual abuse, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to:

    b. establish a transparent process for appointing bishops which includes the direct participation of lay people.

    Recommendation 16.12

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to remove the time limit (prescription) for commencement of canonical actions relating to child sexual abuse. This amendment should apply retrospectively.

    Recommendation 16.16

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to introduce measures to ensure that Vatican Congregations and canonical appeal courts always publish decisions in disciplinary matters relating to child sexual abuse, and provide written reasons for their decisions. Publication should occur in a timely manner. In some cases it may be appropriate to suppress information that might lead to the identification of a victim.

    To II of II

  • II of III

    Recommendation 16.17

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to amend canon law to remove the requirement to destroy documents relating to canonical criminal cases in matters of morals, where the accused cleric has died or ten years have elapsed from the condemnatory sentence. In order to allow for delayed disclosure of abuse by victims and to take account of the limitation periods for civil actions for child sexual abuse, the minimum requirement for retention of records in the secret archives should be at least 45 years.

    Recommendation 16.18

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should request the Holy See to consider introducing voluntary celibacy for diocesan clergy.

    Recommendation 16.19

    All Catholic religious institutes in Australia, in consultation with their international leadership and the Holy See as required, should implement measures to address the risks of harm to children and the potential psychological and sexual dysfunction associated with a celibate rule of religious life. This should include consideration of whether and how existing models of religious life could be modified to facilitate alternative forms of association, shorter terms of celibate commitment, and/or voluntary celibacy (where that is consistent with the form of association that has been chosen).

    To III of III

  • III of III

    Recommendation 16.26

    The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference should consult with the Holy See, and make public any advice received, in order to clarify whether:

    a. information received from a child during the sacrament of reconciliation that they have been sexually abused is covered by the seal of confession

    b. if a person confesses during the sacrament of reconciliation to perpetrating child sexual abuse, absolution can and should be withheld until they report themselves to civil authorities.

    and so on.

    A romp through a religions beliefs with a Letter Patent in hand.

    That doesn’t even touch the parade of anti-Catholics and dissidents called from as far away as the United States of America as “expert witnesses”.

  • And attack the Catholic Church, all who adhere to it, to the exclusion of every other form and place of child abuse – because anti-Catholicism is your text.

  • Ah, are you offended yet again? The Catholic Church has consistently acted in a nefarious fashion regarding its clergy sex abuse problem. I have friends and family who are faithful Catholics. I don’t hold it against them. Furthermore, I am a survivor of child sex abuse, so I do know of what I am speaking. Your lies don’t matter.

  • Apparently more correctly you were unbalanced by child sex abuse, and it shows.

    Get professional help.

  • I agree that we humans have been the largest contributor to the screw up. But God created the conditions – human nature – that allowed us (or perhaps even impelled us?) to screw up as badly as we have. It seems like there should be some shared responsibility for the screw up.

  • What profession might that be: rabble rouser, troublemaker, bigot?

    You’re the sociopath, whacko boy.

  • I guess that depends on how one envisions God.

    I choose to see God as the source of pure good. So, I see things differently than you do. 🙂

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