By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
1/20/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The world is learning that the Catholic Church has not been as immobile against child sexual abuse by priests as previously thought. Last week, the Vatican provided details that Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years. All signs indicate more will be defrocked until the Church is cleansed of the threat.
Pope Benedict XVI moved aggressively to combat child abuse in the Church and Pope Francis is continuing the move to clean house.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the AP, documents reveal that Pope Benedict defrocked nearly 400 priests in just two years for child molestation. To be defrocked is essentially to be fired, and left to the civil authorities for justice. The Church is unable to actually incarcerate abusers, but can -and does hand them over to civil authorities for trial and justice.
The document came from a file delivered to the U.N., which formed a committee to study the worldwide concern this week in Geneva. Last week, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the U.N. Ambassador to Geneva, took eight hours of questions and criticism from the committee.
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The data is public record, but is not widely publicized. The Church typically keeps its internal affairs discreet. However, in cases of child abuse, the Church has recognized an urgent need to develop its practices further and has moved over the past decade or more to aggressively protect children from priests who would molest them.
According to the documents, the Church ordered that all accused priests have cases sent to Rome for review. At that time, Cardinal Ratzinger, not yet Pope Benedict, learned that many bishops were not following Church law and placing such priests on trial within the Church. They were also disobeying rules that required them to report such individuals to civil authorities.
Ratzinger then issued clear directives to all bishops, reinforcing their requirements under Church law. Since then, Pope Benedict, and now Francis, have moved, at the same time as civil authorities in many countries, to go after both the priests as well as the bishops who have protected them.
Today, the Church is safer than it has ever been and bishops were clearly expected to follow Church rules or else they may be called to answer to Pope Francis, who clearly has no problem with handling wayward bishops.
It should also be noted that secular, scientific studies address several myths about clerical abuse in the Catholic Church. Detractors often accuse the Church has being a haven for gays and pedophiles who are attracted to children. None of this is true.
According to studies, priests do not abuse children anymore than men in other professions or men in general. Nor is the Church filled with homosexuals, nor are requirements for priestly celibacy apparently a factor.
However, the Church is held to a higher standard because of the nature of the work it performs. As Christ's bride on Earth, the Church is absolutely expected to behave impeccably in all matters, with absolute integrity.
Recent moves by both Benedict and Francis are in the right direction.
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