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.
The Vatican cannot be sued in European courts because it is a sovereign state, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday in dismissing a suit from survivors of abuse by Catholic clergy. It was the ECHR's first case to deal with the immunity of the Holy See, the court said.
Catholic priests must report all child sexual abuse allegations to police, including if they hear about it in the secrecy of the confession box, the French interior minister has said after reprimanding France’s top bishop for claiming that the secrecy of the Catholic confessional was “above the laws of the Republic”.
Philpott and Westerhorstmann assert that the Church’s efforts have fallen short in several key respects: There has not been a full authoritative account of the truth, there has been inadequate accountability for bishops and other high Church officials, and there has been little empathetic public acknowledgment of survivors of abuse on the part of the Church.
“We also took this position: that no one with a credible [abuse] allegation should ever be in public ministry,” Cardinal Gregory said on Wednesday. He added that bishops can only act on clergy abuse accusations that are credible and that they have knowledge of. “I can only act on that which I know,” he said.
The bishop continues to perform his duties, including administrative items, saying mass, administering the sacraments and teaching. He has been tough on abusers and launched a web page that lists all priests credibly accused of abuse. He also instituted a policy that calls for priests to be temporarily removed from their duties if allegations are deemed plausible or have the semblance of truth. The diocese said the policy only applies to priests, not the bishop, “A bishop is only answerable to the Holy See.”
There is a crisis of morale among many of America’s priests, in part, because many fear that their bishop would throw them to the lions at the first hint of trouble. Many priests see themselves, therefore, as one complaint away from ignominy and disgrace, especially because often, priests are not allowed to speak on their own behalf, having been commanded to be silent by their bishops. So too, there is unlikely to be a proper respect for due process that would allow them to defend themselves.
Like everyone else, priests need to be liked, and sometimes that can get in the way of doing what needs to be done. That, too, is one of the reasons I pray. I don't like having to say no to someone, or having to say difficult things, or having someone angry at me because of what needed to be done. I don't suppose anyone likes that, but when such issues begin to pile up, that's what I wake up thinking about at 3 a.m.
The Diocese is partnering with an ethics consulting company to set up a telephone and online system to gather reports of ethics violations in its parishes, schools and cemeteries. "The diocese already has systems in place for people to confidentially report allegations of clergy sexual abuse, but it has become clear parishes also need a way for people to report theft, fraud and other financial problems."
If I were doing seminary formation right now, I’d probably organize a movie night and have them watch “The Truman Show,” the 1998 Jim Carrey film about a man who’s the star of a 24/7 reality show in which the whole world can see and hear everything he does, only he doesn’t know it. Basically, every single priest today is the pastor of Seahaven, the fictional town in the film, where someone is always watching.