Vatican Guidelines on Dealing With Abuse Allegations Permit Bishops to Cover Up Abuse

More guidelines. More spin. More dishonesty. More of the same.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued the following document.  Some things relating to Irish law have been omitted even though they are implied in the text, so I’ve taken the liberty of adding them explicitly, for clarity.  (Note to CDF: usual editorial rates apply.  You’re welcome).

Most of that is at the start.  I have made no comment on the sections dealing with the private procedures of the Catholic church which have no relevance to Irish criminal law and which are of no interest to me.  That’s most of the document, but I’ve included the whole lot here.  You can read it if you want.  It’s your choice.

Clearly, the fire is burning too close to Ratzo’s arse for his own comfort and he’s instructed the lads to get to work covering his Holy Fundament.  Unfortunately, in their panic they managed to get it completely wrong again, telling bishops taht they don’t have to report child abuse cases to the  authorities unless required to do so by law.  You might remember that old dingbat, Mgr Maurice Dooley on the Pat Kenny show, announcing the same thing to a horrified nation only a few weeks ago.  Well, now it turns out that the pope agrees with him.

The new guidelines tell bishops explicitly that they can cover up sex abuse cases if they wish.


Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures
concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations

The applicable law is the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (MP SST) of 30 April 2001 together with the 1983 Code of Canon Law. This is an introductory guide which may be helpful to [idiots]  lay persons and non-canonists.

A: Preliminary Procedures

The local diocese investigates every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric.

If [we can’t get out of it] the allegation has a semblance of truth the case is referred to the CDF. The local bishop transmits all the necessary information to the CDF and expresses his opinion on the procedures to be followed and the measures to be adopted in the short and long term.

Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should [not “must”] always be followed.  [Therefore, since civil law does not require it, bishops need not report child abuse allegations to the police in Ireland].

During the preliminary stage and until the case is concluded, the bishop may [not “must”]  impose precautionary measures to safeguard the [church] community, including the victims.  Indeed, the local bishop always retains power to protect children by restricting the activities of any priest in his diocese [but doesn’t have to use it if he doesn’t feel like it]. This is part of his ordinary authority, which he is encouraged [but not instructed] to exercise to whatever extent is [judged]necessary [by him] to assure that children do not come to harm, and this power can be exercised at the bishop’s discretion before, during and after any canonical proceeding.

B: Procedures authorized by the CDF

The CDF studies the case presented by the local bishop and also asks for supplementary information where necessary.

The CDF has a number of options:

B1 Penal Processes

The CDF may authorize the local bishop to conduct a judicial penal trial before a local Church tribunal. Any appeal in such cases would eventually be lodged to a tribunal of the CDF.

The CDF may authorize the local bishop to conduct an administrative penal process before a delegate of the local bishop assisted by two assessors. The accused priest is called to respond to the accusations and to review the evidence. The accused has a right to present recourse to the CDF against a decree condemning him to a canonical penalty. The decision of the Cardinals members of the CDF is final.

Should the cleric be judged guilty, both judicial and administrative penal processes can condemn a cleric to a number of canonical penalties, the most serious of which is dismissal from the clerical state. The question of damages can also be treated directly during these procedures.

B2 Cases referred directly to the Holy Father

In very grave cases where a civil criminal trial has found the cleric guilty of sexual abuse of minors or where the evidence is overwhelming, the CDF may choose to take the case directly to the Holy Father with the request that the Pope issue a decree of “ex officio” dismissal from the clerical state. There is no canonical remedy against such a papal decree.

The CDF also brings to the Holy Father requests by accused priests who, cognizant of their crimes, ask to be dispensed from the obligation of the priesthood and want to return to the lay state. The Holy Father grants these requests for the good of the Church (“pro bono Ecclesiae”).

B3 Disciplinary Measures

In cases where the accused priest has admitted to his crimes and has accepted to live a life of prayer and penance, the CDF authorizes the local bishop to issue a decree prohibiting or restricting the public ministry of such a priest. Such decrees are imposed through a penal precept which would entail a canonical penalty for a violation of the conditions of the decree, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state. Administrative recourse to the CDF is possible against such decrees. The decision of the CDF is final.

C. Revision of MP SST

For some time the CDF has undertaken a revision of some of the articles of Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis tutela, in order to update the said Motu Proprio of 2001 in the light of special faculties granted to the CDF by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The proposed modifications under discussion will not change the above-mentioned procedures (A, B1-B3).

11 thoughts on “Vatican Guidelines on Dealing With Abuse Allegations Permit Bishops to Cover Up Abuse

  1. Fuck it.If I knew how to do the click and paste thing this would be easy.The CDF may authorize,theCDF may choose,the decision of the CDF is final,the local diocese investigates every allegation.
    NO it may not,NO it can’t,NO it isn’t and NO it doesn’t.Fuck off CDF.

  2. MT — Just to be clear, that all relates to the irrelevant canon law, which is why I haven’t commented on it.

  3. “In cases where the accused priest has admitted to his crimes and has accepted to live a life of prayer and penance, the CDF authorizes the local bishop to issue a decree prohibiting or restricting the public ministry of such a priest.”

    In such cases, why does the canon law and the CDF not require that the matter be referred to the civil authorities? This is a very important clause, because it essentially says “if the pervert admits it, then do not investigate anything and shut the fuck up. Put the perv out to pasture and try to keep him out of the public eye”.

    You only investigate (and open the thing up to scrutiny from the police) if he denies it and the victims make a fuss. Otherwise, we’re in the clear. This clause is tantamount to obstruction of justice.

    Obviously, I’m not surprised that this is the church’s policy. I am a little surprised that they would be so blatant (naive?) in publishing it. What does the DPP have to say about this?

    I love what this Pope is doing to the church. Just leave him in place for a few more years and the whole stinking edifice will come crashing down under the weight of its own hypocrisy. I can’t wait.

  4. Did anyone else see ‘Vows of Silence’ on RTE on Sunday night? It’s a documentary about Father Marcial Maciel, a major fundraiser (and I mean Major !) for the Roman Catholic Church who was accused of sexual crimes against children. It was jaw dropping. Both the current and previous Popes were implicated in the cover up. This a link to the trailer on U-Tube –
    Maciel is the greatest fundraiser of the modern church, he founded the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order with a $650 million budget. Also complicit in the cover up is Cardinal Sodano, the same prick that said over the Easter weekend that the recent accusations against Ratzo were ‘petty gossip’ and part of a ‘gross propaganda’ press campaign against the Papacy. I don’t know if the program is available on the RTE playback website but it has to seen to be believed.

  5. The church hierarchy is a fucking joke. They started off by implying that there was no abuse and anyone saying so was wrong. Then when confronted with the evidence they start going through a list of their historical critics and enemies in an attempt to blame them. It was (a) Thousands of kids doing a Lolita job and tempting the poor priests (b) Everyone was doing it so what’s the problem? (c) Its all made up by the media despite billions being paid out and bankrupted dioceses as a result of evidential court cases in the States (d) the Pope despite being a micro manager was insufficiently interested in a case involving a known repeat abuser in his bishopric to suggest he might not have seen any paperwork on the case (e) It was all the fault of deputies rather than bishops, cardinals or popes. (F) Its the Jews. (G) Its the Secularists. (H) It was all the fault of the 1960’s.

    These people are insane.

  6. “These people are insane” Yes, religion has little to do with the rational. However it is the citizenry of this country who are ultimately to blame! Where is the out cry for legislation to protect our children, and let it be retroactive. Where is the demand to change the management of our schools?

  7. Noticed this..
    The local diocese investigates every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric.
    This is the job of the police not the clergy its like the local bank robbers investigating a bank robbery.

  8. Wow.. wringly Joe, just watching the trailer when Ratzi is asked about Fr Maciel I notice him hitting the reporter and saying something like “come to me when the moment is given, not yet”..
    Fucking pompous prick, I’d wallop him back if he did that to me.

  9. They are raping children, when are they going to take a serious action to sort it out.
    They just don’t give a fuck, anything but the right thing. Just how sick do you have to be to not just cover up these perverts but to keep moving them on to rape again.
    Mind you they never moved any of their sick cunts into any of their fee paying schools, nor any parish in dublin 4

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