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CBS news story distorts 1962 Vatican document (Analysis)
Catholic World News ^ | Aug 7, 2003 | staff

Posted on 08/07/2003 9:54:10 AM PDT by polemikos

Boston, Aug. 07 (CWNews.com) - A CBS network news report, claiming that the Holy See orchestrated a cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, is based on a gross misinterpretation of a 1962 Vatican document.

In a sensationalist report aired on August 6, CBS Evening News claimed to have discovered a secret document proving that the Vatican had approved-- and even demanded-- a longstanding policy of covering up clerics' sexual misdeeds.

The document cited by CBS does nothing of the sort.

In fact the network's story misrepresented the Vatican document so thoroughly that it is difficult to attribute the inaccuracy to honest error.

The CBS story is based on a secret Instruction issued to bishops in March 1962 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, then the prefect of the Holy Office (now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). That document sets forth the canonical procedures to be followed when a priest is charged with the ecclesiastical crime of "solicitation"-- that is, using the confessional to tempt penitents to engage in sexual activity.

[The Vatican document, in an awkward English translation, can be downloaded from the CBS News site. CBS also offers the Latin original.]

The Vatican document deals exclusively with solicitation: an offense which, by definition, occurs within the context of the Sacrament of Penance. And since that sacrament is protected by a shroud of absolute secrecy, the procedures for dealing with this ecclesiastical crime also invoke secrecy.

In short, by demanding secrecy in the treatment of these crimes, the Vatican was protecting the secrecy of the confessional. The policy outlined in that 1962 document is clearly not intended to protect predatory priests; on the contrary, the Vatican makes it clear that guilty priests should be severely punished and promptly removed from ministry.

It is important to keep in mind that the 1962 Vatican Instruction dealt exclusively with "solicitation" as that term is understood in ecclesiastical usage, under the terms of the Code of Canon Law. The policies set forth by Cardinal Ottaviani do not pertain to the sexual misdeeds of clerics, but to the efforts by priest to obtain sexual favors though the misuse of their confessional role.

It is also important to note that because solicitation takes place inside the confessional, only the accused priest and the penitent could possibly have direct evidence as to whether or not the crime took place. If the solicitation led to actual sexual activity, that misconduct could be the subject of an entirely separate investigation, not bound by the same rules of secrecy.

The crime of "solicitation" has always been viewed by the Catholic Church as an extremely serious offense, calling for the strongest available penalties. Cardinal Ottaviani stresses that any confessor who solicits sexual favors from his penitents should be suspended from ministry and stripped of all priestly privileges. These penalties apply to all cases of solicitation, whether they involve minor children or adults of either sex. The 1962 document is not concerned with all instances of solicitation; it does not concentrate on the solicitation of children.

The CBS report claimed:

The confidential Vatican document, obtained by CBS News, lays out a church policy that calls for absolute secrecy when it comes to sexual abuse by priests-- anyone who speaks out could be thrown out of the church.
That is inaccurate.

While it is true that the Vatican document threatens excommunication for anyone who discloses the proceedings of an ecclesiastical trial for "solicitation," it does not bar the priest's accuser from making separate charges about the priest's sexual misconduct. In fact the document makes it clear that during the canonical trial, the accuser should not be questioned about any sexual activity that he may have undertaken with the priest; the accuser is to be questioned solely about what occurred within the confessional.

Thus, someone who was sexually abused by a priest would be free, under the 1962 Vatican policy, to bring criminal charges against that priest for his sexual conduct, while simultaneously charging the priest with "solicitation" in an ecclesiastical court.

In fact, the Instruction from Cardinal Ottaviani stresses (in section 18) that every Catholic has a solemn duty to bring canon-law charges against a priest who attempts to solicit sex through the confessional. The importance of that obligation is underlined by the fact that a Catholic who fails to report solicitation is subject to excommunication. Moreover, the penitent remains under this solemn obligation to report solicitation even if the priest has already confessed his crime.

The document on which CBS based its distorted story is a densely worded 24-page document, couched in the technical idiom of canon law, and accompanied by a 36-page Appendix that provides the formulas to be used in an ecclesiastical trial. No careful reader could fail to recognize that this was a specialized document, providing a set of procedures for a particular ecclesiastical offense. Why, then, did CBS News draw a broad general conclusion from a tightly focused legal document? Why did the network fail to distinguish between the ecclesiastical crime of solicitation and the public offense of pedophilia? The questions are worth pondering.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; cbs; deceit; distortions; liberalmedia; mediabias; seebs; sexabuse; vatican
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
When dealing with a highly technical, internal document of the Church (in Latin) there would be points of canon law and moral theology which would be assumed as understood by the parties intended to read it and those which required clarification. One would not expect such a document to emphasize that it is always wrong for a priest to solicit sex during sacramental Confession because that would already be understood.

This being the case, any honest journalist would ask the source what it all means, before telling the world it means something else. The fact the CBS did not ask anyone from the Congregation of the Faith (which is what the Holy Office is now called) for comment shows bias.

The fact the CBS did not asked for any help reading a Latin canonical document 40 years old shows their arrogance.

51 posted on 08/07/2003 2:02:22 PM PDT by HapaxLegamenon
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To: Snuffington
It could only be construed that way if you assume every document had to specifically spell out the civil procedures to be followed, not only the religious ones. And if you also assume children need to be spelled out distinctly from adults in every case. Both are silly assumptions.

I don't expect it to spell out civil procedures, but when a SERIOUS CRIME has been committed by a clergyman and there is NO MENTION of civil authorities, it makes it seem that the church is above any laws but their own. Furthermore, the victim is NOT bound by the seal of confession and could easily be intimidated by the church proceedings, as many undoubtedly were, to defer from reporting the crime to the civil authorities.

This document did not protect bishops, priests, or anyone else from punishment if they covered up civil crimes. More to the point, it certainly did not instruct the bishops to undertake such a coverup. The fact that these topics were not covered in this single document does not imply anything.

Yes, it did to the extent that the church took the law into its own hands and meted out a punishment or not, as it deemed appropriate, bypassing civil law.

To my knowledge, as of this point in time, there has been NO mention that serious criminals should be turned over to civil authorities, where the knowledge of the crime was gained outside the boundaries of confession. If you know of such a document or instructions, I would like to know about it.

I don't like the idea that any crime committed by clergy is exempt from scrutiny in the light of just secular laws. It doesn't work that way for penitents who have committed serious crimes who *may* be instructed by their confessor to turn themselves over to civil authorities.

Also the issue of threatening the victim with excommunication if he fails to come forward after learning of the requirements to do so (most victims would be ignorant of this canon) within 30 or whatever number of days seems stacked against the victim and in favor of the clergy which comes across to me as unjust. If a person goes to a clergyman (apart from confession) and reports an abuse, the clergyman is not threatened with excommunication if he fails to report it to anyone.

I can't determine what the INTENTION of the excommunication threat is meant to accomplish on the poor victim.

52 posted on 08/07/2003 2:21:08 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: HapaxLegamenon
This being the case, any honest journalist would ask the source what it all means, before telling the world it means something else. The fact the CBS did not ask anyone from the Congregation of the Faith (which is what the Holy Office is now called) for comment shows bias.

The fact the CBS did not asked for any help reading a Latin canonical document 40 years old shows their arrogance.

Excellent point. How many actual Catholic experts on canon law and Vatican documentation did CBS consult with? I have noticed the secular media frequently relies on the disinformation of liberal dissenters among "Catholic scholars" for many stories.

53 posted on 08/07/2003 2:24:32 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Aliska
I can't determine what the INTENTION of the excommunication threat is meant to accomplish on the poor victim.

Can't you? What is the intention of most law, civil or canonical? It is to direct behavior.

The Church is making the point that a person who experiences this type of harrassment from a priest has a duty to report it. This is the exact opposite of covering up. This is the Church saying that someone who suffers abuse must report it.

Why? To prevent further abuse of others. We do have a Christian responsibility to protect others from harm, and if we know of a priest who is abusing the sacrament, we do nto have the option to bury our heads and pretend it never happened.

Rather we have a canonical as well as ethical duty to report the abuse.

SD

54 posted on 08/07/2003 2:31:37 PM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
One would also have to keep in mind that different countries have VERY DIFFERENT civil procedures and concepts of law. In the 1961-62 period, for instance, priests had been imprisoned in totalitarian countries for trumped up charges of various kinds. In the current media cycle people have gotten used to the idea of automatically viewing the priests as guilty and of the Church as having covered up actual terrible crimes. This was not always the case in past history. In the Communist countries dominated by the Soviet Union, innocent priests were often jailed. Whether a homosexual subculture as vast as that which has existed since the 1970s was present in the Church of the past is highly debatable. Solicitation of sex by priests would probably have been directed at women with a frequency greater than that of the homosexual sodomy/rape cases of recent headlines. That false charges of sexual misconduct have been directed at priests would have been something to be concerned about as well. This doesn't excuse cover-ups, of course.

Are you saying that perpetrators of crimes such as have been reported in our country should be shielded because of the risk that the charges could be trumped up? There is that risk always, but it is pretty clear that most of the cases that are finally seeing their day in court in our country are not trumped up.

I do see your point about laws being different from country to country and in some countries, the death penalty could be administered for abusing a minor or even homosexual activity between consenting adults.

I can only say going in, that if I were in any of those countries, I would be subject to the whims of their particular legal systems and there is no protection for me (a layperson) against injustice. Why should it be any different for a clergyman?

As to people suffering under trumped up charges, I would certainly defend them, as might the church (depending on who it is), which is certainly the right thing to do, providing I was reasonably certain they were innocent.

I just can't go so far as to say that just because there is a risk of trumped up charges that a criminal should be shielded from the civil authorities. That would be an individual call on a case-by-case basis.

Now we're down to guilty priests who walk or have fled to evade criminal prosecution versus some clergymen who are right now doing real jail time for real crimes they have committed.

Sending a clergyman to a monastery as a punishment does not seem to fit the crime imo. Any other person would have to do hard time in jail.

55 posted on 08/07/2003 2:39:47 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
I agree with you completely on #49.
56 posted on 08/07/2003 2:43:27 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Aliska
Are you saying that perpetrators of crimes such as have been reported in our country should be shielded because of the risk that the charges could be trumped up?

No. I specifically mentioned that there is no excuse for covering up crimes. My guess would be that prior to the 1960s or 1970s, the sex issue was largely about priests involved with women. In the document in question, it has to do with solicitation of sex in the context of Sacramental Confession, entirely another matter altogether. The issue specifically involves a sacrilegous profanation of a sacrament by a priest.

The best remedy for preventing sodomy molestation cases is to follow Vatican directives and not ordain those with an orientation toward sodomy. Obviously, once crimes have been committed, such individuals must be removed from clerical life and submitted to the appropriate legal penalties.

If the issue is what did the Vatican have to say back in 1962, one would have to be alert to the fact that false charges brought against priests had indeed taken place in totalitarian countries. There was not an openly pro-homosexual movement in the Church in 1962. There is now.

57 posted on 08/07/2003 2:48:47 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: SoothingDave
The Church is making the point that a person who experiences this type of harrassment from a priest has a duty to report it.

Why

This is the exact opposite of covering up

That depends. It *could* be interpreted as an early warning system for the church to go into damage control mode.

Why? To prevent further abuse of others.

That was my assumption and hope, but when the threat of excommunication is added and applies only to the victim, it just muddies the waters more, not less.

If you find yourself in a situation such as this, such as I did (it is not up to the penitent to determine whether it was an innocent misunderstanding or what; you MUST report certain things even if you don't really think it was real solicitation), I can tell you that it scares the living daylights out of you when you find out *you* are threatened with excommunication until you do what you are supposed to do and hope that the thing doesn't escalate into something really out of control.

58 posted on 08/07/2003 2:57:34 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Aliska
There is a difference though between "secrecy" regarding an investigation of a crime alleged to have been committed by a priest during a Sacramental Confession or of the "secrecy" required for an ecclesiastical trial and a cover up. One would have to keep in mind that at those points in an investigation, the facts are not known. In the more recent cases in the American Church, only an idiot would have thought the charges were groundless when (in some cases) nearly a hundred allegations had been reported. The serial sodomy molesters who were shuffled from parish to parish should have been removed from priestly ministry and subjected to legal penalties. Why Church officials did not have more aggressive policies and procedures in place to discipline and remove molesters from the priesthood SHOULD be investigated and discussed. One of the disturbing current trends in AmChurch is a continuing refusal to acknowledge that an orientation toward sodomy is a grave impediment to ordination. One would guess that CBS did not bother to interview Michael Rose or Paul Likoudis nor did they bother to report on the fact that many Catholics would like the Church to bar sodomites from the ranks of the clergy.

If CBS is interested in reporting the actual facts of the sex abuse "crisis" they should investigate how the sodomy problem in the Church got started to begin with. Conservative Catholics have been complaining about this FOR YEARS. Somehow CBS missed this story. How could that be possible? How did CBS miss the fact that conservative Catholics have complained about the sodomy problem in AmChurch for years?

59 posted on 08/07/2003 3:03:21 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: SoothingDave; RobbyS
Perhaps you missed where I explained earlier that this has to do with Church proceedings in church law. Civil, secular law is a completely different thing.

Yes, the Church is the judge and jury in its own ecclesial proceedings. Duh. Do you want the state deciding how to run your church.

OK, care to tell me just WHERE in these "ecclesial proceedings" it says it's OK to take a KNOWN pedophile, and just move him somewhere new to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN?!?! NO accountability...NO WARNING to the Community?!?!

And, Duh...I'm not intertested in the State running any Church...I'm interested when Bishops, Cardinals and who KNOWS else CONSPIRE to thwart Justice in Secular Court by their own damned PERVERTS!!!

As for duh...when will ALL of you get it straight...I am attacking the PERVERTS in YOUR CHURCH, and their enablers!

Will ANY of you RCC-Uber-Alles CHEERLEADERS separate the Church from the priviledged PERVERTS that allow this to happen?!?!

Would any of you take that same attitude if it were a teacher...a Boy Scout Leader...a sports coach...that was as Mafia-protected as these Lavender PERVERTS are?!?!

And as for RobbyS's incessant comments on how "Everybody ELSE is doing it"...

What about the same in the cases not involving Catholic priests, which were far more numerous. Do you think that SNAP is pursung the Public schools, for instance.

I believe SNAP is doing this for the VICTIMS of these Cassoc'd PERVERTS with Immunity!!!

It's not SNAP's job for these others...maybe folks like you could get these pervs out of the PUBLIC sector, since it's too tough to demand that your Church do it to those it has HARBORED!!!

YEESH!

60 posted on 08/07/2003 3:09:52 PM PDT by Itzlzha (The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote!)
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To: SoothingDave
(What you say was SOP for many bishops is true. But it is not a result of them acting under orders from the Vatican via this document, which is what CBS alleged.)

CBS didn't allege it, they stated it as fact. From the CBS piece:

For decades, priests in this country abused children in parish after parish while their superiors covered it all up. Now it turns out the orders for this cover up were written in Rome at the highest levels of the Vatican.

61 posted on 08/07/2003 3:10:01 PM PDT by jackbill
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To: *Catholic_list
CBS Smearjob Discredited, read how here.

Thanks, polemikos
62 posted on 08/07/2003 3:12:30 PM PDT by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: HapaxLegamenon
Of course some common sense is needed here but all too often the Bishop or whomever could not be trusted to conduct an honest evaluation. The initial instinct was to cover up, circle the wagons, ship the priest out.—to another unsuspecting parish.

I love how you say: “Obviously, any Bishop who knows or suspects one of his priests is a pedophile he should call the police, as should the PARENTS of the boy who has been harmed.”

If that had been the norm we wouldn’t be discussing this today!
63 posted on 08/07/2003 3:12:33 PM PDT by Olde School
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To: HapaxLegamenon
Of course some common sense is needed here but all too often the Bishop or whomever could not be trusted to conduct an honest evaluation. The initial instinct was to cover up, circle the wagons, ship the priest out.—to another unsuspecting parish.

I love how you say: “Obviously, any Bishop who knows or suspects one of his priests is a pedophile he should call the police, as should the PARENTS of the boy who has been harmed.”

If that had been the norm we wouldn’t be discussing this today!
64 posted on 08/07/2003 3:12:35 PM PDT by Olde School
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
#57. I think we are mostly on the same page about that, although the cynic in me tells me that things must have been covered up in the past when we didn't have the checks and balances in society such as we have in the US. Part of me thinks the media did a good thing by exposing the crimes, but part of me thinks the motive of the media was destructive in intent.

As to the 1962? document clearly prohibiting known homosexuals from being ordained, that thing could have been so obscure that few bishops were aware of it, but I sure don't give them a pass for what they obviously had to be aware of, nor do I give their superiors a pass for not running a tighter ship. Bishops resign in disgrace whereas their superiors remain unaccountable which is not how it is supposed to work in most scenarios. The superiors should have stepped in before it would become necessary for a bishop to resign in some of the cases, especially when it was in the headlines of all the daily papers. What were they cringing because the cat was out of the bag and didn't want any more scandal or do they really want to do the right thing? I can't know that, of course.

Priests involved with women do seem to be treated more harshly than the priests who abused children. With women, it was probably consenting adults more or less, but that won't fly when children are involved which is far more serious to my way of thinking. I'm not sure that it is true that priests who got involved with women were always kicked out either, some were probably transferred to remove them from the temptation until they reflected, etc., nor am I sure they should have been unless they get married, and then there isn't much else that can be done unless the rules are changed which I don't care to get into.

65 posted on 08/07/2003 3:13:36 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Pyro7480
Can you put me on your traditionalist pinglist.
66 posted on 08/07/2003 3:14:52 PM PDT by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: Polycarp
Can you use any of your clout to get CBS to retract this, or at least make it clear what the document was about?
67 posted on 08/07/2003 3:16:12 PM PDT by StAthanasiustheGreat (Vocatus Atque Non Vocatus Deus Aderit)
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To: SoothingDave
I thought I said that the bishops run their own churches autonomously? Every time the diocese writes a check they don't need to get approval from the Vatican. The Vatican, by and large, assesses individual dioceses so much per year for support of the Vatican. But individual items in the budget are not generally open for review.

So, the Vatican is not notified if someone SUES the diocese? If a Multi_Million dollar Tort is filed, and it crosses diceses following a Lavender Pervert that was HIDDEN and moved from place to place by these Bishops and Cardinals...yet the Vatican is unaware of ANY of this?

And when it all became public...did this same Vatican that was unaware of any of it, do something like, say, expose the guilty...throw the BUMS out...apologize to the laiety and victims...offer restitution?

Nope.

So, how can the Vatican have it BOTH WAYS? If they didn't know, why didn't they cat to DUMP the problem PERVS?

If they DID know...how do you reconcile this with faith?

68 posted on 08/07/2003 3:17:20 PM PDT by Itzlzha (The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote!)
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To: Itzlzha
You don't seem to want to accept a comparison between how the secular courts handle offenses and how the Church does. What has happened is that the Church has not applied its own standards correctly. This is often true, more often true probably, of the civil courts, whose standards, on paper, are equally strict bit which are, in the interest of expediency, often applied leniently. The Church, in other words, has followd the example of the worldly rather than serving as a light unto the world. At bottom I am telling you if you don't like the kind of justice that the Church has dealt out, you really won't like the justice that the secular courts usually hand out
on the same issues. There are priests being sentenced to hard time for offenses that are normally treated as matters of probation.
69 posted on 08/07/2003 3:28:31 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
There is a difference though between "secrecy" regarding an investigation of a crime alleged to have been committed by a priest during a Sacramental Confession or of the "secrecy" required for an ecclesiastical trial and a cover up

It is clear to me, but I think CBS should have been a little more careful to make the distinction and clarify it for readers who can't make the distinction because they aren't familiar with church practices and laws. In other words, CBS wanted to lay it out there and hope some more s*** hits the fan. I was interested in the document and was glad it got on the net in translated form. Somebody obviously leaked it imo.

If CBS is interested in reporting the actual facts of the sex abuse "crisis" they should investigate how the sodomy problem in the Church got started to begin with

That's the real no no and I'm not completely satisfied with most of the explanations I've read. It may have other explanations which haven't been explored fully enough yet. It is most likely that the church needs so many priests now that they have just cut corners in order to fill the slots and a few got in and encouraged others to join the club because it's a good life for some.

There are other measures without giving up celibacy that the church might take to ease the supposed manpower shortage. Daily masses could be a lot larger in a central location in all but the small towns to ease the workload, but there is probably something wrong with that idea. Lots of priests seem to be shuffling papers which could be handled by laity.

70 posted on 08/07/2003 3:29:22 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Aliska
At certain times in the past there was certainly a greater disinclination to talk about such things publicly in many institutions not just the Catholic Church. School teachers, scout leaders, and other individuals involved with such unsavory sexual problems might have been dismissed or moved elsewhere without legal penalties. There is a still a reluctance among liberals to confront the NAMBLA matter.
What seems to be at issue is not whether it is wrong to sodomize minors, but the Catholic priest identity of the alleged offenders and the possible complicity of the hierarchy in covering it up. If the liberal media were interested in protecting children, etc., they would investigate ALL CASES of sodomy molestation of minors. They do not seem to be interested in cases which do not involve the Catholic Church.
71 posted on 08/07/2003 3:33:29 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
They do not seem to be interested in cases which do not involve the Catholic Church.

That is probably true. It didn't have to happen this way, you know, shouldn't have happened this way if the church had acted more responsibly.

72 posted on 08/07/2003 3:42:54 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: RobbyS
I've been noticing a few cases where foster children,often very young,12,have been taken for abortions without notifying the police or County Attorney.

This means that someone is raping or having relationships with children resulting in pregnancies.How many cases have been brought against foster parents,state placement agencies and abortion clinics?If it wasn't so sickening and really harmful to children who are already twice vulnerable I wouldn't even comment because in truth I am so mad at those 20 to 30 "covering" bishops and want them to be punished.They have,by design,tried and in some cases been able to extinguish the voice of moral authority in many areas across the country.

I am back to my old dream;identify the ones of ill intent,expose them,strip them of their Office,strip them naked,put them on an open cattle car and send them by train to every town and village in America so people could go down and jeer and spit.I bet we wouldn't see that kind of problem surface again for a long time.

Please note that I do limit the bishops to blame to only about 12 to 15% of the bishops. We have many fine,holy and intelligent men serving as bishops. That is why I despair of these one size fits all allegations. That is just simply not true.

73 posted on 08/07/2003 4:20:22 PM PDT by saradippity
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Great question.
74 posted on 08/07/2003 4:21:41 PM PDT by saradippity
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To: Aliska
I don't expect it to spell out civil procedures, but when a SERIOUS CRIME has been committed by a clergyman and there is NO MENTION of civil authorities, it makes it seem that the church is above any laws but their own.

I'm not sure why you're trying to argue your entire complaint against the abuses that clearly did take place within the structure of the CBS "uncovered" document. They're simply not the same thing. The one has to do with a priest misusing the confessional to seduce someone (largely adult women). The other is about priests actually engaging in sexual contact with minors (largely boys).

Can't you at least consider that the Church may need to deal with the first issue as well as the second?

And if so, can't you concede that it might be perfectly ok for this document to remain silent on the latter subject?

If you find the latter issue inadequately addressed, why must you blame it on a document which seems to be entirely unrelated?

75 posted on 08/07/2003 4:41:41 PM PDT by Snuffington
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To: Snuffington
Can't you at least consider that the Church may need to deal with the first issue as well as the second?

I thought this document covered all instances of solicitation.

And if so, can't you concede that it might be perfectly ok for this document to remain silent on the latter subject?

Yes, if the latter subject wasn't intended for inclusion.

If you find the latter issue inadequately addressed, why must you blame it on a document which seems to be entirely unrelated?

Because I didn't understand it to be unrelated and I'm not sure that it is unrelated.. I believed it to cover all cases of solicitation within or related to the confessional.

If it only applies to people of the age of consent, it is an entirely different matter and would rightly be handled within church channels.

If the document is the same as being used the attorneys in civil litigation, "the document given to authorities by Carmen Durso of Boston and Daniel J. Shea of Houston.", it would be logical to assume that it applies to minors as well as adults.

What isn't clear is the relationship to the document and the particular case the attorneys handed it over for and if it is the exact same document unearthed by those attorneys.

76 posted on 08/07/2003 5:39:29 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: Aliska
I believed it to cover all cases of solicitation within or related to the confessional.

Not related to. Only within. Solicitation refers exclusively to the behavior of a priest within the confessional. It doesn't cover any behavior which results from that solicitation. However such external behavior is covered by lots of other statutes within canon law, and any guilty priest would have to answer for those crimes in addition to the crime of solicitation.

I'm not sure, but you seem to be under the belief that a priest accused of solicitation would not be charged with the crimes which resulted from it. That's simply not true. Much like a bank robber who kills someone during his robbery is charged with both robbery and murder, an abusing priest who solicited illegal sexual encounters from his confessional would have to answer for the crime of solicitation as well as any sexual crimes which followed.

The problem with the current scandal is that bishops shielded their priests from all charges. They didn't charge them with solicitation and protect them from the rest.

...it would be logical to assume that it applies to minors as well as adults.

Regardless of what the Vatican thought was the most likely victim at the time, the document applies to the behavior of the priest alone. The identity of the victim does not change the seriousness or consequence to a priest for committing the crime of solicitation. It is always a grave matter.

77 posted on 08/07/2003 6:12:16 PM PDT by Snuffington
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To: Snuffington
Solicitation refers exclusively to the behavior of a priest within the confessional

OK, I see where you are coming from.

I'm not sure, but you seem to be under the belief that a priest accused of solicitation would not be charged with the crimes which resulted from it.

That is because few of those priests were ever charged with anything because most of the cases were handled with what appears to be no intention to hand them over for civil prosecution where crime was involved.

The problem with the current scandal is that bishops shielded their priests from all charges. They didn't charge them with solicitation and protect them from the rest

In most cases, yes. They couldn't charge them with solicitation if the victim was persuaded in a way that didn't relate to confession except perhaps where the abuser happened to also be the regular confessor. The solicitation/seduction happened in the rectory, on a weekend outing, in the victim's home, etc., and wouldn't necessarily all fall under the canonical definition of solicitation.

Regardless of what the Vatican thought was the most likely victim at the time, the document applies to the behavior of the priest alone. The identity of the victim does not change the seriousness or consequence to a priest for committing the crime of solicitation. It is always a grave matter.

The consequences apply to the priest, but it was the victim who was threatened with the excommunication. No priest was threatened with excommunication if he came to know what had happened nor was the perpetrator threatened with excommunication.

In any case, it appears the document came to light and was handed over to the US attorney by Shea, and not for a civil suit, who is quoted as saying, among other things, "It's an instruction manual for a rigged trial for a priest accused of sexual crimes, including crimes against children". That's where I got the notion that the document applied to children as well as adults, but I don't go along with the rigged part necessarily and this is the Boston Herald doing the quoting.

My take on all this started here and that was how I connected it to the article on the CBS site.

I may dig through it again and I may not, because, if you want to know the truth, I do not believe that that document is the reason these things were covered up. There may have been a general consensus among the bishops to cover things up, and it seemed standard operating procedure and fell into a pattern with some exceptions, but I doubt it had much to do with that particular instruction, unless other similar secret documents set that tone. It remains to be seen and probably won't be seen because it is guarded information.

It was probably just covered up to prevent an embarassment for the church or scandal however you may choose to define it.

78 posted on 08/07/2003 6:59:46 PM PDT by Aliska
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To: saradippity
People should remember that prosecutors and cops are the hirelings of the people who really run the country. These people look on cops just as they do the military as servants. Unsurprisingly when the elite rings the bell, the law enforcement people jump but only then. The only reason they are going after the bishops npw is because the bishops have fallen from their positions among the power elite, but they are too dumb to know that. Patherically they are trying to hang on. That's why they won't touch the twelve senators who show such contempt for the Catholic faith they profess. Some day, when the timing is right, one of these guys is going formally to apostacize on the front page of the New York Times and declare that he wil;l no longer have anything to do with such a "backward" and "irreformable" organization. The bishops are afraid of this. Message to bishops: Let them go!
79 posted on 08/07/2003 7:43:47 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: Itzlzha
OK, care to tell me just WHERE in these "ecclesial proceedings" it says it's OK to take a KNOWN pedophile, and just move him somewhere new to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN?!?! NO accountability...NO WARNING to the Community?!?!

Duh. It doesn't. You really need to listen to what is being said. Really.

Yes, bishops did awful things. No, it wasn't under orders from the Vatican. This document does not order a "cover up." That is my point. Try to follow along, it might help.

SD

80 posted on 08/08/2003 5:20:28 AM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: RobbyS
Not only Catholic bishops fell from their old position of power, the same treatment is given to most religious leaders in our increasingly secular system. The Catholic Church is hurting itself to continue to insist that priest should not get married. This requirement, by itself invites excessive number of young guys who are not interested in girls to become priests. At the end, they fail to connect the dots as of why there are excessive number of homosexual priests in the Catholic Church.
81 posted on 08/08/2003 5:35:26 AM PDT by philosofy123
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Comment #82 Removed by Moderator

To: Itzlzha
"but how do you reconcile what you said above with the FACT that the RCC was NOT interested in a "trial" of the accused pedophile priests...they shuttled them from Parish to Parish and NEVER let the new Parish know what they were getting!

Nah, there's no cover up! Can't be. Why it's the Catholic church (rolling my eyes). And if you say ANYTHING against the Catholic church you're a bigot, hatemonger, Catholic basher or worse. Pssssst - Catholics can't tolerate criticism. It makes em feel bad. So truth must NOT be acknowledged under ANY circumstances.

Seriously, of course this despicable act is a cover up that went on for YEARS. Any clear thinking person can see that. Those that can't, don't think.

83 posted on 08/08/2003 5:55:16 AM PDT by nmh
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To: nmh
Your position, then, is that it's OK if CBS and the other media tell whopping lies as long as it's about the Catholic Church? Does that sum it up?

Otherwise, you would have seen that the Catholics here are not defending the actions the Church has taken in the past, but are defending the mis-use and deliberate mis-understanding of completely rational documents for the express purpose of castign aspersions.

The truth is bad enough. There is no reason to support lies.

SD

84 posted on 08/08/2003 6:18:11 AM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: NWU Army ROTC
Clout?
85 posted on 08/08/2003 7:40:35 AM PDT by Polycarp (For the liberal elites, the only "good" Catholic is a bad Catholic. - Father Richard John Neuhaus)
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To: AAABEST
Good comeback.
86 posted on 08/08/2003 7:46:56 AM PDT by Bluntpoint
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To: Polycarp; NYer; ninenot; BlackElk; LurkingSince'98; Cicero; TomB; heyheyhey; sandyeggo; MadIvan; ...

Ring

87 posted on 08/08/2003 8:00:00 AM PDT by Barnacle (A Human Shield against the onslaught of Leftist tripe.)
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To: nmh
And if you say ANYTHING against the Catholic church you're a bigot, hatemonger, Catholic basher or worse. Pssssst - Catholics can't tolerate criticism. It makes em feel bad. So truth must NOT be acknowledged under ANY circumstances.

That's a crock - not worthy of a further response.

88 posted on 08/08/2003 8:05:06 AM PDT by Barnacle (A Human Shield against the onslaught of Leftist tripe.)
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To: philosofy123
Ending celibacy--or ordaining women-- is not necessary to ending the priest shortage or getting rid of gays. It certainly hasn't worked in the Episcopal Church--you MAY have noticed!!! As in the Episcopal Church gays have worked themselves into the system, and only with the pederasty crisis have Catholics generally become aware, as the bishops must have earlier, of the extent of the influence of the "Lavender Mafia." What needs to be done, and this has been done successfully in some dioceses, is better recruitment.

The pool of potential priests has shrunk because the number of young Catholic men has shrunk. But there are enough young men out there who might answer the call, and we are not talking about teen-agers, but men of college age or older. The scandal--and the Robinson incident--should have told us that openly homosexual men are grossly unqualified for the priesthood.

There have always been homosexuals in the priesthood but because the Church sought to weed them out, fae fewer than the number we have now. The Church has yet to address the question: what do we do about the ones we have now. One thing we must not do is to give them positions of authority. We may assume that there are already many of them in such positions, so this will make it very hard to purge the Church of them or even to minimize the damage they are capable of. The culture war continues and, as so often in the past, the enemy is within the walls.

89 posted on 08/08/2003 8:06:48 AM PDT by RobbyS
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Comment #90 Removed by Moderator

To: polemikos
The "report" reeked, even when read on the CBS website. But who in their right mind gets "news" from CBS in the first place?
91 posted on 08/08/2003 8:28:35 AM PDT by ninenot (Torquemada: Due for Revival Soon!!!)
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To: polemikos
Cardinal Ottaviani stresses that any confessor who solicits sexual favors from his penitents should be suspended from ministry and stripped of all priestly privileges. ...

The CBS report claimed:

The confidential Vatican document, obtained by CBS News, lays out a church policy that calls for absolute secrecy when it comes to sexual abuse by priests-- anyone who speaks out could be thrown out of the church.

That is inaccurate.

That is a charitable understatement.

But the smear is out there. Mission accomplished.

92 posted on 08/08/2003 8:31:42 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Aliska
Actually, Aliska, you should hope that BOTH the Church's legal system AND the civil legal system hold out, intact.
93 posted on 08/08/2003 8:33:00 AM PDT by ninenot (Torquemada: Due for Revival Soon!!!)
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To: Itzlzha
Given these FACTS, can you please reconcile these things for me?

It certainly was never the Vatican policy to coverup priestly crimes. In practice, some bishops covered up crimes, Cardinal Law being the most famous.

94 posted on 08/08/2003 8:36:58 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: polemikos
Never rely on (CBS) to report the facts.

More concise. Just as accurate.

95 posted on 08/08/2003 8:45:54 AM PDT by Tribune7
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To: sandyeggo
Bump that.

I’m sending this article to my friends and family, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Many people have no idea to what extent the “secular media” will go to bash Catholicism. That includes out right lies. People have to know the truth.

Our church is being relentlessly attacked. Why? Could it be that now, more than ever, we stand in stark contrast to other denominations in our opposition to the homosexual agenda and our protection of babies?
96 posted on 08/08/2003 9:12:14 AM PDT by Barnacle (A Human Shield against the onslaught of Leftist tripe.)
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Your number 40 was awesome.
97 posted on 08/08/2003 9:38:57 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, a LIAR and MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: cpforlife.org; Barnacle; saradippity; sandyeggo; NYer; Aquinasfan
Just found this in the Boston Herald and thought it a pretty good article. This reporter has done a fair job on his reporting of the "scandal" and he does a good job here as well. Looks like Fr. Doyle, who supposedly originally translated and circulated the documents in question is backing off somewhat. But sadly, the damage has probably been done and we won't find CBS addressing the truth of this matter. Maybe I should have posted this story on a thread of its own? If someone thinks so, feel free to do it.

Canon lawyers: Vatican paper didn't order cover-up

by Eric Convey
Friday, August 8, 2003

A Vatican document heralded recently as a blueprint for shrouding clergy sexual abuse in secrecy was in fact a narrow set of instructions for disciplining priests who used the confessional to solicit sex, canon lawyers said yesterday.

As such, several experts in church law said, the document will provide little fodder for plaintiffs' attorneys seeking to use it as proof that the Vatican ran a broad cover-up scheme to protect priests who molested children.

``I don't think it has anything to do with the sexual misconduct scandal,'' said Edward O'Flaherty, a Jesuit priest and canon lawyer based in Boston.

The 1962 document, reports of which surfaced in Massachusetts newspapers last week, prescribes stiff penalties for priests who misuse the confessional and for lay Catholics who fail to report such abuse.

Under church law, a priest who uses the confessional to seek sex from anyone - child or adult - is excommunicated.

``It's a question of sacramental practice,'' O'Flaherty said. ``Any person is free to go to the police or anyone else they want. It's a question of how the church handles the abuse of a sacrament.''

The document was presented to Massachusetts law enforcement officials late last month by civil lawyers Daniel Shea and Carmen Durso.

Shea also gave copies to media, including the Boston Herald.

An influential canonist speaking on condition of anonymity said the document ``is not the smoking gun that some civil lawyers want to make it.''

Several others noted that it never mentions dealing with civil authorities - either bringing abuse to their attention or hiding it from them.

Durso said he disagrees with canonists who consider the document a narrow description of solicitation in the confessional.

But even if they're right, he said, ``it doesn't make any difference. The pedophile priests regularly used all of the tools available to them, which included the rites of the church, the sacraments, all of the things that kids are taught to respect.'' The Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer with extensive archives of church documents who provided the 1962 letter to Shea, also questioned yesterday whether it would prove to be useful in civil cases.

``Basically that document is about solicitation in the confessional,'' said Doyle, who has publicly criticized the church hierarchy for secrecy. ``(But) I think it's a good historical document and it illustrates the mindset of the Vatican in dealing with these problems.

``I still think that it's unfair to characterize that document as it has been,'' he said.

98 posted on 08/08/2003 9:54:07 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
Sorry, the above article is from the Boston Herald... I was not clear on that.
99 posted on 08/08/2003 9:55:39 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen; sinkspur
Sinky--isn't this the Father Doyle who was USCC employee in the early 1980's and raised the alarm?

And if so, how come he's sort of waffling on this?

100 posted on 08/08/2003 11:20:14 AM PDT by ninenot (Torquemada: Due for Revival Soon!!!)
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