Posts Tagged zero tolerance

Abuse whistleblowers renew request for Vatican inquiry of U.S. bishops / National Catholic Reporter

“Eight months without a reply, Catholic advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse have hit resend on their request for a Vatican investigation into the abuse policies of U.S. bishops.”

The Catholic Whistleblowers mailed a second letter Sept. 1 to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, addressed to its prefect Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada.

“The brief one-page letter summarizes and refers back to another letter the advocacy group sent at the beginning of the year. That first letter raised concerns that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was not fully implementing its zero tolerance policy toward abusive priests, and as a result putting children and communities at risk while also creating scandal in the church.

“Specifically, Catholic Whistleblowers argues the conference and its bishops have not reported all appropriate abuse allegations to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and lack a mechanism to assure bishops pass such cases to the congregation at all.”

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Voice of the Faithful asks again, what does zero tolerance of clergy sexual abuse really mean?

Considering convicted priest’s reinstatement and Pope Francis’ pronouncements, what does zero tolerance of clergy sexual abuse really mean?

On the heels of complaints that the Curia is blocking child protection policy reforms already approved by Pope Francis comes word that a priest convicted of child sexual abuse has been reinstated in India and that new bishops have been told they are not required to report child sex abuse to civil authorities. Neither situation conforms to the declarations Pope Francis has made that there must be zero tolerance for child sex abuse.

VOTF is left to wonder, as many Catholics do, whether Pope Francis is simply declaring a zero tolerance policy while allowing the Vatican Curia to block any meaningful child protection reforms.

In the India case, despite the so-called zero tolerance policy, The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reportedly told Bishop Arulappan Amalraj of the Ootacamund Diocese in India that he could return Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul to ministry, which he did. Jeyapaul pleaded guilty and was convicted in 2012 of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota. Allegations involving a second teen were dropped in a plea deal.

In the bishops’ case, the Vatican allowed a priest to tell new bishops that reporting child sex abuse was not required, that it was a choice they had. The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, created and supported by Pope Francis, fired back this week with a press release stating that reporting abuse not only is a requirement, it’s also a bishop’s moral and ethical responsibility to do so. The statement went out over the signature of Cardinal Sean O’Malley, chair of the Pontifical Commission. The Commission had prepared a module for teaching bishops how to handle reported abuse—yet none of the commissioners, the proper leaders on the issue, was asked to deliver that message.

VOTF thus asks again, is Pope Francis promulgating recommendations of his own Pontifical Commission “for show” or is he, and the Church, serious enough about zero tolerance to actually enforce it? Seeing bishops who have covered up abuse brought before the new tribunal for bishops would be a step in the right direction. It would at least demonstrate that people who reinstate convicted abusers or tell new bishops to ignore zero tolerance will be held accountable.

Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Catholic Whistleblowers request Vatican investigation of flaws in U.S. bishops’ sex abuse policies / National Catholic Reporter

After years of raising concerns to U.S. bishops about potential holes in their clergy sexual abuse policies to little avail, a group of Catholic advocates has requested Vatican intervention.

“Catholic Whistleblowers, in a formal request for investigation, alleges the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not followed through fully on its policy of zero tolerance toward abusive priests and deacons, in part because its guidelines lack a mechanism to assure that bishops send the necessary cases to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In addition, the organization argues that the conference uses a higher bar than church law to determine which cases require review by Rome.”

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Francis faces a balancing act on sexual abuse reform / Cruxnow.com

A member of Pope Francis’ Vatican commission to fight child sexual abuse said Monday that when the pontiff praised the ‘courage’ of the American bishops in handling abuse during his recent trip to the United States, he was engaged in a delicate balancing act.

“That line stirred controversy among abuse survivors and their advocates, who argued that some US prelates have a less than exemplary record in terms of making the Church’s ‘zero tolerance’ standard stick.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Francis, the church sex abuse scandal is not over / The Boston Globe

When he visits the United States this week, Pope Francis is likely to repeat his acclaimed vow of ‘zero tolerance’ for clergy who sexually abuse minors.

“For most Americans, this will have a reassuring ring. We assume we know what the pope means — that the global Catholic Church now adheres to the same ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy that, at least in theory, has bound all US bishops since 2002.

“That rule says that clergy guilty of ‘even a single act’ of sexual abuse will be ‘removed permanently’ from ministry.

“But this isn’t what the pope is saying. The troubling fact is that zero tolerance still is not compulsory in the global Catholic Church. It exists in the United States only because of the public outrage that engulfed American bishops in 2002, following revelations that they had kept child molesters in ministry. They obtained special permission from the Vatican to adopt a tougher measure.”

By Anne Barrett Doyle, Commentary in The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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O’Malley says cardinals more open to reform / The Boston Globe

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley (head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) said on Monday (Feb. 16) that a prior climate of denial among Catholic cardinals on the need for reform with regard to the church’s child sexual abuse scandals has been largely driven underground.

“O’Malley also said that a lack of accountability for bishops who fail to make “zero tolerance” policies stick has damaged the church’s credibility, and vowed that he will present proposals for new accountability mechanisms to the pope within two months’ time.

“O’Malley spoke Monday in an exclusive interview with the Globe during a Rome event to present an expanded antiabuse initiative at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope’s Vatican watchdog on abuse: wrong priest for the job / The Boston Globe

WHY PUT a priest who covered up sexual abuse in charge of policing it?

“That’s exactly what Pope Francis did when he appointed the Rev. Robert J. Geisinger as the Vatican’s ‘promoter of justice.’ While the pope has met with abuse victims and pledged himself to zero tolerance, the appointment of Geisinger is a step backward. To signal his resolve on an issue that has deeply wounded so many, he should rescind the appointment.”

Editorial by The Boston Globe — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.

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