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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Will Francis punish bishops who covered up sex abuse?

- Cardinal Law's church

An editorial in The Economist on Francis and the handling of sex abuse - A bid to hold the Catholic leadership responsible for paedophile priests

[T]he Vatican has not obliged bishops to report suspected abuse to the police because, say officials, in some places paedophile clerics could suffer barbaric punishment or execution. This argument hardly holds in, say, Italy—and yet in March the Italian bishops’ conference told its members they had no “juridical obligation” to tip off secular authorities.

Cases are still coming to light of bishops who endangered children by failing to investigate allegations or by moving paedophile clerics to other dioceses, leaving them free to abuse again. Yet the Vatican has refrained from sanctioning them. “The safeguarding of minors in his diocesan community is a sacred duty of every bishop,” says Bishop Scicluna, and episcopal negligence is a crime under canon law. But in America, says Mr Clohessy, “not one bishop has lost a single day’s pay for having put kids in harm’s way.”

That is where the continuing scandal becomes personal—and papal. Only the pope can handle penal cases against bishops under canonical law, so if the taboo against disciplining bishops is to be broken, only he can break ..... Francis’s papacy will be judged on how he treats this running sore.

I'm not holding my breath. On Francis' first day as pope he visited the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, the church where the notorious Cardinal Bernard Law presides, and it was erroneously reported that he had done so to sack Law for his part in the abuse cover up. The stories were untrue and a Vatican spokesman called the idea of the pope banishing Law "absurd" (Pope’s visit with Cardinal Law criticized), and never once since Francis became pop has he ever even mentioned the subject of the cover up by the church of sex abuse, much less moved to punish it. I don't think he ever will, and that's one of the reasons I don't have a lot of respect for him.


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