Former Promoter of Justice for Congregation of the Faith Addresses Canon Law Society about Abuse Situation: For Whom Is Canon Law Designed?


Former Promoter of Justice for Congregation of the Faith Addresses Canon Law Society about Abuse Situation: For Whom Is Canon Law Designed?

From the blog: Bilgrimage
Link: http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2013/10/former-promoter-of-justice-for.html

In my previous posting, I referred to a report Fr. Thomas Reese has published at National Catholic Reporter regarding Bishop Charles Scicluna’s recent address to the Canon Law Society of America. Scicluna was previously the Promoter of Justice for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. In that capacity, he was, as Reese notes, roughly the equivalent of the Vatican’s “chief prosecutor” for cases of clerical abuse in the Catholic church.

As I read what Scicluna has to say about how canon law addresses abuse cases, I’m struck by the following:
1. The emphasis of Scicluna’s reading of canon law (and this reflects the emphasis of canon law itself) is far and away skewed in the direction of protecting the rights and serving the needs of clerics–while the rights and needs of lay Catholics, and notably of lay Catholics abused by clerics, are only distantly addressed by canon law.
2. Scicluna notes that canon law envisages three ends in any process considering the guilt of a cleric: these are “reparation of scandal, restitution of justice and the conversion of the accused.” Only the second of these ends can in any way be said to address the needs of those abused by priests, and it does so only in a glancing way.
3. What’s very clear in Scicluna’s presentation is that canon law itself sees the primary problems in an abuse case as tamping down all reports that can lead to scandal and as “converting” the priest himself. Canon law has almost no room at all for considering the needs of lay Catholics who have been sexually abused by a priest, or for addressing the hurts and mending the injuries done to those who have been abused.
4. Scicluna makes three affirmations that, to my way of thinking, are mind-boggling, in that they cannot possibly hang together, and one cannot coherently affirm all three statements at the same time:

1. Pastoral leaders must find “the courage to tell victims to move on,” to stop creating “a persona out of being victims.”

2. “A tragic consequence of abuse is the loss of faith — a loss of faith in a God who is compassionate, merciful and loving. I have met victims who have renounced the faith as a consequence of what they suffered, and my attitude is silence and prayer.”

3. “The victims evangelize us.”

As I say, these three affirmations cannot possibly hang together. How is it possible for victims to evangelize us, when we tell victims that they must move on? How can someone who is not there evangelize the rest of us?
How can someone we’ve told to consider herself or himself as less than the rest of us, as an unworthy part of the body of Christ–Just move on–possibly evangelize any of the rest of us in the body of Christ? When we make people invisible, how do they retain the ability to evangelize us, to remind us of good news?
And so in what way does it make any sense at all to speak of victims renouncing “the faith,” when the faith itself clearly renounces them by informing them that they must move on, must stop being professional victims? There is, isn’t there, something egregiously evil about blaming those who are victims for their loss of faith when we ourselves–Just move on!–have created the conditions for victims’ loss of faith by treating victims of clerical sexual abuse as less than human?
What gives any human being the right to tell another human being suffering from childhood sexual abuse that it’s time to “move on,” to stop suffering, to shut up and get over it? Where does such astonishing hubris come from on the part of Catholic pastors and canonists, and how can Catholic pastors and canonists possibly imagine that they’re behaving pastorally when they engage in such hubristic, insensitive, cruel behavior?

As long as we have bishops (with canonists who think as Rev. [Reginald] Whitt [of St. Paul-Minneapolis] does to advise them) who assume that their primary pastoral responsibility as bishops, bolstered by canon law itself, is to “save” pedophile priests while ignoring the needs of the people of God, we’ll continue to have dangerous priests placed by bishops in positions in which they’ll have access to minors. And we’ll have cover-ups.

The roots of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church begin with the very governing system of the church itself, and are inscribed in that governing system’s code of canon law, which creates a two-tiered system that allocates power exclusively to the ordained, and excludes the non-ordained from all governing power and from fundamental rights within the church. Until that deeply unjust system of governance, which is itself a recipe for abuse, is rectified, the abuse will continue. And it will continue to be covered up.

About victimsofrapebythercc

The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.

Posted on October 27, 2013, in Archbishop André Richard, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop Denis Hart, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Ernest Léger, Archbishop Jerome Hanus, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt, Archbishop John J. Myers, Archbishop John Nienstedt, Archbishop John Roach, Archbishop José Horacio Gomez, Archbishop Peter Gerety, Archbishop Peter Sartain, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, Archbishop Robert Carlson, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop William Levada, Archdiocese of Boston, Archdiocese of Chicago, Archdiocese of Detroit, Archdiocese of Dublin, Archdiocese of Edinburg, Archdiocese of Grand Rapids, Archdiocese of Hartford, Archdiocese of Kalamazoo, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archdiocese of Marquette, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Archdiocese of Minnesota, Archdiocese of New York, Archdiocese of Newark, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Archdiocese of Pittsburgh, Archdiocese of Saginaw, Archdiocese of St Andrews, Archdiocese of St Louis, Archdiocese of St Paul, Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Association of Catholic Priests, Bill Donohue, Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua, Bishop David Zubik, Bishop Edward Cullen, Bishop Eugene Larocque, Bishop George H. Guilfoyle, Bishop John B McCormack, Bishop John Magee, Bishop John McCormack, Bishop Joseph Cistone, Bishop Joseph Devine, Bishop Joseph Imesch, Bishop Kenneth Povish, Bishop Laurence Glenn, Bishop Michael Bransfield, Bishop Michael Malone, Bishop Peter A Libasci, Bishop Peter Sartain, Bishop Raymond Lahey, Bishop Richard Malone, Bishop Richard Sklba, Bishop Robert Finn, Bishop Robert Rose, Bishop Seamus Hegarty, Bishop Thomas Curry, Bishop Thomas V. Daily, Bishop Timothy Dolan, Bishop Vincent Leonard, Bishop Wojciech Polak, Cardinal Adam Maida, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Cardinal Bernard Law, Cardinal Cushing, Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Dominik Duka, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Cardinal Franc Rodé, Cardinal Francis George, Cardinal George Pell, Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, Cardinal John Krol, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Cardinal Juan Cipriani, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Cardinal Levada, Cardinal Mahony, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Cardinal Patrick O'Malley, Cardinal Pell, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Cardinal Richard Cushing, Cardinal Rigali, Cardinal Roger M Mahony, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Cardinal Sean Brady, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Thomas Winning, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, Cardinal William Levada, Catholic League, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Child Sex Abuse, Christianity, Christians, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata, Dallas Charter, Diocese of Manchester, Good Shepherd Laundries, Magdalene Laundries, Manchester Diocese, Manchester Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, Manchester NH Diocese, Opus Dei, Papal Nuncio, Pedophile, Pedophile Priests, Perverted Priests, Pope Benedict, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II, Pope Paul VI, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse, Roman Curia, St Thomas Moore Parish Durham NH, St Thomas More, St Thomas More Durham NH, St Thomas More Parish, Uncategorized, Vatican, William A Donohue and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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