Pope inches towards a tougher handling of clerical abuse

Pope inches towards a tougher handling of clerical abuse June 4, 2016

Pope Francis has approved measures to sack bishops who mishandle child sexual abuse cases, a papal decree says.
The BBC reports that bishops who are “negligent” in dealing with priests committing abuse will be removed under the new legal procedures.
The decree comes in response to long-running demands by abuse victims and their supporters to hold bishops accountable if they fail to protect their flocks from paedophiles.
Existing laws relating to abuse cases would be tightened, the Pope said.
He acknowledged that canon law already allows for a bishop to be removed for negligence but says he wants a more precise definition of the “grave reasons” that could lead to dismissal.

I intend to specify that among these so-called ‘serious reasons’ is the negligence of bishops in the exercise of their functions, especially in cases of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that the pontiff had also established a group of lawyers to help him make decisions that could result in the dismissal of a bishop.
His motu proprio (on his own impulse) decree emphasises that the Church:

Loves all its sons, but cares for and protects with special attention those who are weakest and defenceless.

This explains the requirement for priests, especially bishops, to display “particular diligence” in this area, the Pope said.
Some bishops have covered up abuse by transferring perpetrators from parish to parish rather than reporting them to police.
Pope Francis set up a Vatican commission to establish best practice in relation to abuse cases and expose wrongdoing in parishes in 2014.
The pontiff tweeted on Saturday:

Let us hear the cry of the victims and those suffering, no family without a home, no child without a childhood.

The Roman Catholic Church has for much of the last 15 years been forced on the defensive by scandals involving priests who are alleged to have abused children and then been transferred rather than handed over to the authorities.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn and Trevor Blake (who, back in 2005, wrote a scathing open letter to Amnesty International, criticising it for failing to hold the Vatican accountable for clerical abuse).

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  • Gindy51

    Let’s see how many ways they can claim the bishops were not negligent or how much their lawyers can weasel those “grave reasons” to be nothing short of a dead girl or boy. My guess is the only ones who will get any discipline under this set of BS are dead bishops.
    Sorry buddy, that ship sailed centuries ago and you’re all running on fumes. If you or any of the previous popes believed a single word of what you preach, you would have stopped this shit a millennium ago. You don’t, so you didn’t, and you’re still not now.

  • barriejohn

    I want to know when they are going to be handed over to the police!

  • L.Long

    “….comes in response to long-running demands by abuse victims and their supporters…” So before anything is done we need lots of ‘demands’ before we start to realize that the priest’s actions are immoral and evil????? Great moral teachings of xtians!! Absolutely great moral actions, I’m SSSSOOOOOoooo impressed!!!

  • barriejohn

    Believe it or not, our old friend Bill Donohue was in the news recently when he declared that atheists are “good for nothing”:
    They stand for nothing, believe in nothing, and many are good for nothing. Organized atheists are set to invade D.C. this weekend, holding a “Reason Rally.” The reason they are rallying is their professed belief in nothingness…
    Most of the speakers are nobodies, an exception being Penn Jillette: He is known for his obscene rants against Mother Teresa. Besides bashing Christians, the speakers will discuss “climate change, LGBT rights, sex education, and social justice issues.” Exactly what the atheist perspective is on these issues is a mystery (if I may use that word). What is really striking, however, is that the rally is showcasing how important the atheist vote is, thus suggesting that their group-think community is anything but a home for “freethinkers.”


  • Laura Roberts

    Photo-op Frankie is at it again, eh? Making public noise about nudging his crime family a half-step closer to civilisation.
    Donohue is one of those people who can validate my position on an issue merely by stating his opposition to it.

  • Broga

    Merely a defensive move. Let’s see him sack a few bishops before we treat this seriously.
    As for Donohue, about whom I know nothing, he seems from his words a fair example of a kind of Christian who infests society.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: How many times has Donohue been ridiculed on this site? He IS The Catholic League!
    (“Trump is a man of the people”)

  • Paul

    I would like to believe this is positive. But this is too little too late.
    They have known for centuries, if not millennia, that rcc priests have been abusing children. And yet the rcc has simply worked tirelessly to protect its image, its employees and ignore the incredible damage that abuse does.
    Only if the rcc turns over all of its papers on its so called ‘investigations’ to the police forces where abuse has happened, can this truly be taken seriously.
    They have covered up abuse – that evil man Pell is a prime example- manipulated, bullied, threatened victims, ‘lost’ evidence, moved offenders to abuse again and again, helped the abusers but not the victims, for far too long, and I fear they will continue. I wish it were not but this is a weak PR response.

  • Badger

    Donohue is a shit. Thats all anyone need say.

  • Badger

    I sent him and email reminding him of that last year. Didn’t get a reply though.

  • Badger

    Caption Competion for the Header Pic.
    Thinks ……. “Oh god I feel horny … must get down to the convent tonight … I’ll sneak in the back door”.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Badger, he is a catholic priest, I suggest a slight change to your caption, replace convent with boy’s club.

  • John

    That’s what we all like to hear – plenty of “tough” talk!
    Whether anything substantive will result, well……
    He is saying ‘no family without a home.’
    When are all the churches being opened to them?
    He says ‘no child without a childhood.’
    That is absolutely beyond parody for his outfit…….
    Just how many childhoods have they stolen and ruined?
    You couldn’t make this joker up…….

  • Cali Ron

    barriejohn : Nothing scares the RCC more than reason.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Cali Ron, it is not just the RCC, I think Luther summed up the fundamentalist outlook quite well, I have posted this before but it is worth a read: http://www.jesuscult.com/Luther_Anti-Reason.htm

  • Broga

    Stephen Mynett : Definitely worth a read and Luther got it right e.g.
    ‘There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason.”
    And knowing the dangers of reason the churches demand faith schools where they can indoctrinate in faith. And the BBC censors secular opinion and broadcasts as if to a nation of believers.

  • barriejohn

    Christians are forbidden to use their intelligence:
    “For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” (I Cor. 1:19-21)
    I had that nonsense drummed into me!