Pope apologizes to abuse victims but again doubts them / The New York Times

“There was great hope that this pope understood — he ‘got it’ — but if that were true we would not have his words today,” said Marie Collins …” (The New York Times)

For years, victims of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church and their advocates have asked when Pope Francis would adjust his blind spot on an issue that has caused enormous damage to Catholics, the reputation of the church and the pontiffs who preceded him.

“But the pope’s remarks overnight Sunday as he returned from a trip to Chile and Peru — apologizing for demanding proof of abuse from victims in Chile even as he continued to doubt them — prompted concerns that he just does not understand.

“‘There was great hope that this pope understood — he ‘got it’ — but if that were true we would not have his words today,’ said Marie Collins, a survivor of abuse who last year resigned in frustration from the pope’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

“‘Anyone who was still clinging to the hope there would be real change in the church to the issue of abuse and this change would be led by Pope Francis will have lost that hope today,’ Ms. Collins said.”

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times — Read More …

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  1. #1 by Patricia on January 24, 2018 - 9:00 PM

    One of the many recommendations in the 17 reports from the Australian Royal Commission into Insitutional Responses to Child Abuse (https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au) noted the need for the Vatican to abolish the ponitical secret.

    Author, Kieran Tapsell provides an explaination https://johnmenadue.com/kieran-tapsell-catastrophic-institutional-failure-can-be-fixed/

    Recommendation 16.10: Abolish the pontifical secret

    One important recommendation challenges the church to return to its long tradition from the 4th to the 19th century of requiring clergy child sexual abusers to be handed over to the civil authorities for punishment. The decrees of four church councils and three popes to this effect were abrogated by the 1917 Code of Canon Law, and in 1922, and thereafter canon law imposed the strictest secrecy over such matters.

    One of the most significant recommendations is that the pontifical secret should not apply “to any aspect of allegations or canonical disciplinary processes relating to child sexual abuse” (Rec. 16.10). The secret of the Holy Office was imposed in 1922 by Pope Pius XI on all information about the sexual abuse of minors, and that was extended in 1974 by Pope Paul VI’s Secreta Continere under which the pontifical secret covered even the allegation. It provided no exceptions for reporting to the police, and told the bishops that there was no room for the exercise of conscience in the matter. The Commission found that “the Holy See considered that bishops were not free to report allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy to civil authorities before and during the 1990s and early 2000s.”

    The pontifical secret is still imposed by Art. 30 of Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela of Pope John Paul II, as revised by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. In 2002, the Holy See granted a dispensation to the United States to allow reporting where the civil law required it, and that dispensation was extended to the rest of the world in 2010. The Commission found that the pontifical secret still applies where there are no applicable civil reporting laws. The Italian and Polish Catholic Bishops conferences seem to agree, because they announced in 2014 and 2015 that their bishops would not be reporting these crimes to the police because their countries’ laws did not require it.

    The recommendation to abolish the pontifical secret over child sexual abuse is in line with similar requests in 2014 by the United Nations’ human rights committees on the rights of the child and against torture. Pope Francis in his formal response of 24 Sept 2014 rejected the request.

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