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Sex abuse Cases and the Pope

Sex Abuse Cases lead to attack on Pope

Teresa Bobrow

In November 2006 the CBC aired the BBC documentary "Sex Crimes and the Vatican".  It blames Pope Benedict XVI for being involved in the cover-up of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.  It states that for over twenty years the Pope endorsed a secret Vatican document, "Crimen sollicitationis" ("The Crime of Solicitation"), issued in 1962, which instructed Catholic bishops on how to proceed with cases of priests accused of sexual abuse.  The BBC documentary states Crimen sollicitationis seemed to protect these priests and further victimize their victims because they were forced to take an oath of secrecy about the case in which they were allegedly involved.  If they broke their oath of secrecy, they were threatened with exceommunication.

The BBC show also dealt with a 2001 letter, again signed by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  It instructed catholic bishops to refer all cases of sexual abuse involving the clergy to the Vatican directly.

In addition, it claimed the Catholic Church has no set policy on helping victims of sexual abuse committed by the clergy.  It also said some sexual abusers are now living in or near the vatican.

Birmingham Archbishop Vincent Nichols protested the programme on behalf of the british bishops.  He explained that the document in question dealt with abuse of the confessional, not with pedophilia cases.  Archbishop Nichols denounced the BBC's attempt to villify the pope and noted the Church's efforts in child protection.

 

This article was published in Catholic Insight, 28, Sept 2007

 

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