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#84546 - 05/18/02 09:01 PM Vatican fights back
Anonymous
Unregistered


A Vatican Lawyer Says Bishops Should Not Reveal Abuse Claims
======================
Sat May 18, 2:52 PM ET


An influential canon lawyer at the Vatican (news - web sites) has written an article to be published today in a Vatican-approved Jesuit journal saying that Roman Catholic bishops should not turn over allegations or records of sexual abuse by priests to the civil authorities.


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The article in the magazine Civilta Cattolica by the Rev. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, dean of the canon law faculty at Gregorian University in Rome, is the second indication in recent weeks that inside the Vatican, influential church officials may disapprove of the response of American bishops to the abuse scandal. Last month, the head of a Vatican council, Archbishop Julián Herranz, also said that the bishops should not be required to turn over records on abusive priests to prosecutors.

Roman Catholic officials in the United States say that the comments by Father Ghirlanda and Archbishop Herranz may serve as a warning to American bishops who are to meet in Dallas next month not to propose anything too far-reaching if they try to formulate a binding national policy on sexual abuse.

Any policy the American bishops produce is subject to approval by the Vatican, and could be held up as a standard for the church in other parts of the world.

"Whatever the U.S. bishops do, it looks like they may have an uphill fight to get some of it approved in the Vatican," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, the editor of America, a Jesuit journal in New York City. Like all those interviewed, Father Reese based his comments on the Catholic News Service report of the article.

In the article, Father Ghirlanda also wrote that a priest who is reassigned to a new parish after being treated because of a history of sexual abuse should not have his "good reputation" ruined by having his background revealed to the new parish. It would be better simply not to place the priest in a new parish if the bishop lacks confidence about the priest, Father Ghirlanda said.

Bishops have also been sued in civil court for failing to remove abusive priests, but Father Ghirlanda wrote, according to a translation from the Italian by the Catholic News Service, "From a canonical point of view, the bishop or religious superior is neither morally nor legally responsible for a criminal act committed by one of his clerics."

However, he wrote, if a bishop knew of accusations and failed to investigate, or if he failed to remove a known abuser from the ministry, then under canon law he would have some legal and moral responsibility.

The article takes issue with another practice that has become common for American bishops handling accusations of sexual abuse by priests. For more than 15 years, the bishops have been sending accused priests to clinics to be evaluated by therapists and to undergo treatment. Father Ghirlanda wrote that an accused priest should not be forced to take psychological tests because it is a violation of his right to privacy under canon law.

The 12-page article by Father Ghirlanda carries weight because like everything published in La Civilta Cattolica, it was reviewed before publication by the secretariat of state at the Holy See. Some American bishops subscribe to the journal, and others will be likely to read the report on the article by the Catholic News Service.

The conclusions of Father Ghirlanda follow by a few weeks critical remarks by Archbishop Herranz, one of the Vatican's top legal officials, who had participated in the recent emergency meeting in Rome between Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II and the American cardinals on the sexual abuse scandal.

Days later, on April 29, the archbishop gave a scathing speech at the Catholic University of Milan that criticized the American news media and legal system as well as the reaction of the American bishops to the scandal.

Archbishop Herranz, who is the president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, said that the American church's large financial settlements with sexual abuse victims were "unwarranted." He criticized American news media outlets as seeking to "sully the image of the church and the Catholic priesthood." Echoing other Vatican officials who have linked sexual abuse with homosexuality, Archbishop Herranz referred to pedophilia as a "concrete form of homosexuality."

Archbishop Herranz said that requiring church leaders to report all abuse accusations to the civil authorities was unnecessary; he called the turning over of records on abusive priests by dozens of American bishops the result of "an emotional wave of public clamor."

Church officials said that Vatican authorities might be signaling their concern because if the wealthy and powerful American branch of the church succeeded in producing a national policy at the bishops' meeting in Dallas, it could set similar expectations for the church in other parts of the world.

"The American experience is very often replicated elsewhere, and if other places run into these problems, they may say we need to take these steps too," said Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Monsignor Maniscalco said that at the recent meeting with American cardinals in Rome, the pope and Vatican officials were concerned that priests could be falsely accused and their reputations unjustly tarnished.

"The Vatican would be very concerned, and they've always been very concerned, that people not be railroaded," the monsignor said. "The Holy Father is from a country where people were regularly railroaded, so we're profoundly concerned that that sort of thing does not happen."

There is nothing in the church's canon law that would explicitly prohibit a bishop from turning over records or reporting allegations to the civil authorities, said the Rev. Thomas J. Green, a professor of canon law at Catholic University of America. The exception would be that a bishop could not break the seal of the confessional, because that would be a violation of canon law itself, Father Green said.

"The Vatican has been very strong on stressing the right to privacy, which is one of the rights affirmed in our law," Father Green said.

Father Ghirlanda, who is also an appeals court judge and a consultant to several Vatican agencies, said that under canon law a bishop is not responsible for the missteps of his priests. He wrote that the church was not like a corporation, and the relationship of bishop to priest was not that of employer to employee.


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#84547 - 05/18/02 09:24 PM Re: Vatican fights back
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think the Pope's been watching movies lately. Taxi Driver's "You talkin to me?"
and Clint Eastwood's "This here's a .44 Magnum. Do you feel lucky? Well do ya,punk?".
And South Park's Cartman's "Screw you guys. I'm going home". This is the first time in my life I actually like lawyers. Get'em,guys!


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#84548 - 05/20/02 10:14 PM Re: Vatican fights back
orodo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
Oh yes, the rights of the priests...we must not forget about those...they are so important...

_________________________
It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

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#84549 - 05/21/02 04:22 PM Re: Vatican fights back
Anonymous
Unregistered


Lotta weaseling going on at Church headquarters. So far we're been told "We're innocent". That changed to "Okay,some priests dork kids but it's just a teensy,teensy few priests". Next came "Well alright. A lotta priests dork kids. But they're homosexual priests. So that explains everything. The Church was just trying to be sensitive to the community's needs by hiring these guys". Next up was "The priests who dork kids were victims of childhood sexual abuse so it follows naturally they'd be into kid-dorking". Latest weaseling-attempt is from the Vatican lawyer "Okay,priests dork little boys. Don't like it? Screw you". Now the Church is getting down to the nitty gritty. Personally,I think the perv-priests were abducted by aliens and programmed to dork kids. Call the X-Files..!!


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#84550 - 05/21/02 08:29 PM Re: Vatican fights back
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi mattandrew. Oh I think there's much more going on here than meets the eye. The Thing dates WAY back to when spiritualists called out to the Powers That Be to make the rains come,crops grow,women become fertile. To when Aztec priests cut the living hearts from their sacrificial victims as offerings to these unseen powers. There's no mystery here. Only that we've put up with these charlatans for so long. Whether Christanity,satanism,Scientology,Islam,etc it's all the same bullshit. If just ONE of these pissant dipshits can make his diety put a six pack of beer appear on my desk maybe I'll start believing. Until then,no. I hope that what we're witnessing now which is a major organized religion's highest leadership going thru their ritualisms saying it's perfectly okay for their High Priests to assfuck children is okay...I hope the reality,the truth of this thing does not escape us. Those people out there who say their shit smells like roses compared to mine because they're especial emissaries to some nonexistant invisable man in the sky can go fuck themselves. All religions are cults. The so-called organized religions most of all. Tinfoil's message to them? Get a job ya fuckin hippies. Earn your keep like the rest of us. We're all tired of this "you must have faith" bullshit.


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#84551 - 05/21/02 09:25 PM Re: Vatican fights back
orodo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 735
Loc: Imladris, The Safe Haven of Ar...
One should not have faith in Church Leaders anymore. According to Church Leaders, the God who allows us to exist will forgive us all for all of our sins, no matter how seriously. Seems like not that long ago that the same Church Leaders were telling us that one would have to do serious penance before entering the Kingdom of God. Before that, entrance to the Kingdom could be purchased. Prior to that, only if one was like a child could one enter the Kingdom. All along, we were told that the leadership of the Church was "infallible". So if Jesus died for all of our sins, why didn't he make us all "sinless" in behavior? If Jesus loves us so much, why does he allow us to be sinful and hateful to each other? Blame it on Satan? If he loves us so much, and so unconditionally, why not take my free will, and let me live in eternal bliss and peace? Why does He let us suffer? Why does he allow little children to suffer at the hands of his other creations? Maybe Jesus was an alien, and after he left, he figured this place was fucked up enough, not much left to do to make this world better, "I'm outta here, you're on your own, Peter, you figure it out." So we're left with existentialism, really. Carpe diem?

_________________________
It is better to be Dragon Master than Dragon Slayer. Some Dragons are meant to be mastered, others meant to be slain. Odin, Great Spirit, God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. "May the Valar guide and bless you on your path under the sky"

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#84552 - 05/21/02 10:20 PM Re: Vatican fights back
Just Call me J Offline
Member

Registered: 07/14/01
Posts: 204
Loc: Inland Empire, California
So the Church is more concerned about its priests being railroaded...

I work in a group home with sexually and physicially abused kids. Working in the business I'm in, there is always the possibility that a kid will make some sort of accusation, just for attention. So to compensate, you cover your own ass, by making sure that other staff can see you with clients, you don't go into a closed room with a female, you don't give gifts with little hearts around the kid's name...

The point is, that you don't do stupid shit. Kids can get a crush on you, and it's your responsibility to do the right thing. The administrators I've worked with never want to lose one of its staff unnecessarily, but it has to take accusations seriously. We are there to take care of kids with emotional problems, so that is where the focus needs to be. Accusations don't lead to the loss of a job, unless there is something to back it up. And that takes an investigation. And during the course of that investigation, the person in question does NOT get to continue to have the same access to the children in question.

This is a common sense approach.

Apparently, protecting the "good name" of a priest is more important than protecting members of the flock. And that is just sad.

It's sad when a high priest claims to have no "moral responsibility." Does the Catholic Church even realize that this scandal is NOT about "alleged" abuses, but about priests who have admitted their transgressions to their superiors, and been allowed to continue in their posts??? Forgiveness is well and good for the priest's soul, but for cryin' out loud, don't go throwing more kids to the wolves!

The Catholic Church's heirarchy, through its actions, is proving to the world that it is only concerned with maintaining its own power, than with bringing people closer in their understanding with God.

I will not go as far as Tinfoil to say that all religion is bunk. I can certainly understand why he feels that way. But I have to respectfully disagree, because I DO believe there to be a God.

I do not believe that the Catholic Church (nor any of the major organized religions)represents truly what God wants for us. So much has been added from men, that the Catholic church represents more about men's laws, than God's.

I do believe that the best of any religion will support that humans should respect the world they live in, and the other people that live in it. Almost all religions put forth the best that humanity has to offer. Unfortunately, many people get so hung up on THEIR way of doing things, that they lose the bigger picture. This becomes more obvious in the many "holy" wars that humans become embroiled in.

Humans interested in subjugating other humans certainly will find it easier when they have people's souls held ransom. But it's not a surprise that some humans will try to take advantage of other humans.

Please don't blame God for it, though. God gave humans free will, and for a reason. So we can be responsible for our own actions.

Ultimately, each of us will face the consequences of our actions. Good choices will result in favorable consequences, while poor choices will result in unfavorable consequences.

While I can hope that God has a special place in Hell for those that twist Her words for their own selfish ends (as well as those that abuse, while cloaked in Her robes), I am resigned the fact that it is God's judgement, not mine, that truly matters. And since I really don't believe Hell to exist, as popular religion describes it, it's a pointless hope anyway.

That's just my opionion on religion. Yours may vary.

We're in this together.

Jeremy

_________________________
We're in this together. - Nine Inch Nails

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#84553 - 05/22/02 02:19 PM Re: Vatican fights back
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Just Call me J. No,not all religion is bunk. The question posed by the priests' molestations spanning decades and probably far,far longer than that is "How could this happen?". The lesson here is to beware of those among us who pretend to be pipelines to God. They are liars,thieves and deviants.


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#84554 - 05/23/02 03:34 PM Re: Vatican fights back
Just Call me J Offline
Member

Registered: 07/14/01
Posts: 204
Loc: Inland Empire, California
Absolutely, Tinfoil.

There's nothing worse than a hypocrite.

Like you said elsewhere, it's what you do when no one is looking that matters.

And the Catholic priests should know better than anyone that there is one eye still watching all the time....

We're in this together.

Jeremy

_________________________
We're in this together. - Nine Inch Nails

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#84555 - 05/23/02 08:00 PM Re: Vatican fights back
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Just Call me J. Religion serves a purpose whether there's an existing Diety or not. It really does'nt matter if there's an Afterlife. If we die and consciousness vanishes we won't be able to ponder The Thing. Consciousness and acknowledgement of the passage of time cease existence. And yet,given the vastnesses of eons-to-come where universes are born,grow old and die then reform endlessly the molecules of which our minds & bodies were once composed will reassemble once again. So it really does'nt matter. What matters is the here and now. Religious beliefs be they superstition or whatnot provoke us to do or not do harmful things to ourselves or others. For instance,I won't commit murder because I believ there's an accounting. I spent a couple of years behind bars long,long ago. Got involved in the 60s drug culture. I laugh now,about it. Might as well have worn a sign "THIS GUY'S ON DRUGS". Tinfoil was the easiest bust any cop ever made. But at the time I thought I was SOO smart. Wudda dummy! But behind bars I witnessed True Evil. Not the Hollywood crap. Those out there reading this who've been busted a few times know what I'm talking about. The shrinks have fancy names for what I had to live with in those cold smelly cement cells. Sociopathic,psychopathic ad infinitum. It's all the same. Evil is'nt some guy jacking off to porn photos. Evil is making those fantasies reality. There's a difference.


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