by Jennifer Roback Morse, National Catholic Register
Data suggests the problem has shifted. Recent victims are more evenly divided between male and female, instead of the preponderance of male victims from earlier times. Importantly, the age of the victims has shifted toward older victims: There are fewer pre-pubescent victims and more teenage victims today. He did find some hopeful news, which suggests the problem has improved. Recent data shows fewer reported cases among younger, recently ordained priests. So, it is accurate to say that the situation is improved, and there is reason for hope.
The sensationalism of the press omitted the fact that Benedict XVI had sent a response to the accusations, which occupies 85 pages of the document, but also rehashed accusations which had already been repeatedly clarified years ago. In the case of the priest accused of abuse and transferred to the archdiocese of Munich in 1980, he was only allowed to live in the archdiocese to receive care and was be required to live in a residence for priests. When he was released to work in a parish, the decision came from the vicar general of the archdiocese, as Ratzinger was already at his post in Rome.
Sadly, it has been brought to my attention that some of our preachers have been using the pulpit and homily time to speak about the vaccine, political ideologies, and partisan agendas. I want to state unequivocally that I will no longer condone abuses in this area. If I am made aware that any clergy is using the pulpit to promote political opinions and denouncing current Church teaching, I will have no other recourse than to revoke their faculty to preach.
Lawyers for the victims asked the court’s Grand Chamber to hear the case, after a lower Chamber judgment in October agreed that the Vatican couldn’t be sued in a local Belgian court because it enjoys sovereign immunity. The lower judgment concurred with Belgian courts that had dismissed the case, also determining that the misconduct of priests can’t be attributed to the Holy See.
The inclusion of the term “even occasionally” recognizes that vulnerability of adults may be present in specific and temporary situations (like retreats) that may occur multiple times, and may cause a person to not understand what is happening to them or be able to defend against maltreatment or manipulation.
“The issue of whether the defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous depends on how the Archdiocese evaluated (the accuser’s) claims of sexual abuse, to determine whether or not they were in fact, credible,” the ruling says. “Resolution of the claim would also require the trial court to assess the Archdiocese’s meaning of ‘credibility,’ and whether that comports with commensurate standards under the law. Such an inquiry by the trial would be improper under the First Amendment because it would, in effect, second guess the Archdiocese’s decisions regarding how to best communicate allegations within its clergy with its parish.”
Loftus told the jury about experiments in which she and colleagues had successfully planted false memories in study participants’ minds. “Even traumatic experiences can be subjected to post-event suggestion,” Loftus said. “False memories … can be very vivid, detailed. People can be confident about them, people can be emotional about them, even though they’re false.”
“Fr. McCarthy’s name on a list of clerics credibly accused of abusing a minor is demonstrably false and his removal from ministry is declared invalid, and his name is to be removed from the list of Priests Credibly Accused of Sexually Abusing a Minor,” the Vatican said in the press release. “The Diocese of Monterey is genuinely sorry for the damage done to Father McCarthy and his personal and priestly reputation by its error in falsely identifying him as ‘credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor,’” the release stated.
The Diocesan Review Board’s determination does not mean the allegations are true and that the priest is guilty, only that the panel believes them to be credible. “But that determination is enough to get the priest removed from service,” a spokesperson from the diocese told the Chronicle. The priest will no longer be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or exercise any public ministry; he cannot live in an ecclesiastical residence, and his name will be added to the List of Credibly Accused Priests on the Diocese of Brooklyn website.
The judge in his ruling said the Bishop did not know the risk the priest posed and that the clergy acted “outside the scope of their employment by molesting Templeton.” He continued by writing the priest’s actions “cannot be attributed to the bishop.”
Clerics who sexually abuse minors can be canonically prosecuted even when they say they were not aware that a person with whom they had sexual contact was a minor, according to changes to canon law announced by the Vatican on Tuesday. The reform of the law, authorized by Pope Francis, follows cases in which clerics claimed they did not know the age of a minor with whom they had sexual contact, or believed them to be more than 18 years old.
Whether the same reservation applies to instances involving other categories of “vulnerable persons,” including seminarians, priests in relation to their superiors, Church employees, and lay people under the spiritual care of a cleric, has been an open question among canonists since the promulgation of Vos estis in 2019, which created the new legal category of “vulnerable persons.”
Among the events cited for starting the new review earlier were changes in the Code of Canon Law regarding penal sanctions in the church that take effect in December; Pope Francis’ May 2019 motu proprio, “Vos Estis Lux Mundi,” revising and clarifying norms and procedures for holding bishops and religious superiors accountable for protecting abusers; and the Vatican report on the investigation into allegations of abuse by Theodore McCarrick, former cardinal and archbishop of Washington.
the Catholic Church should issue a new instruction for priests who hear confessions, it would “reiterate obligations to respect the laws for reporting abuse outside of the confessional and it would also reaffirm the seal. It would emphasize the personal responsibility of the confessor,” including “the requirement to call on a perpetrator to stop the abuse, to report themselves to the statutory authorities, and to seek therapeutic help.”
Should it be mandatory for a priest who hears about sexual abuse committed against a minor in confession to report it to the secular authorities?” He wrote, there is no “compelling evidence showing that abuse would be prevented by removing the seal” of the confessional.
I cannot speak for any other priest, but any time I introduce myself as a priest I personally expect to be distrusted. I think that response is completely understandable given the enormity of the sexual abuse crisis, but it is very wearying. Each time a new set of revelations comes out ... What is this institution that we have given our lives to, priests may ask themselves?
At the end of 2019, there were 1.34 billion Catholics worldwide, representing 17.74 percent of the global population, data from the Fides missionary agency show. This is up 15.4 million on the year previously and an increase from 1.18 billion a decade before.
The Bishop announced this month in a statement that one priest was assigned to minister to prisons, nursing and retirement homes, and provide administrative assistance to the chancery, the other was assigned to provide administrative assistance to the chancery and help retired priests.
The third form of closeness is closeness to priests. Please, do not forget that the priests are the closest of the close. Very often we hear complaints, that a priest says: “I called the bishop but the secretary told me his diary is full, that perhaps, within thirty days, he might be able to see me…”. This is not good enough. If you find out that a priest has called, call him the same day or the day after. And with this, he will know he has a father. Closeness to the priests, and if they do not come to you, go to them: closeness.