Hello, I would like to know if it is true that John Paul II and Benedict XVI didn’t do anything against pedophile priests? Did they cover anything? Thank you!
I wonder the same too. This issue comes up often and I would like to see it addressed.
While we can rightly criticize the media for its selective emphasis on reporting the Catholic Church’s clerical sexual abuse crisis (and its mischaracterization of the problem as categorical “pedophilia” – at least as concerns the Church in America), over and above the sexual misconduct in other religious denominations, organizations, and secular institutions, I will equally criticize attempt at evasion of relevant questions concerning the handling of sexual abuse cases
What am I supposed to answer to those who ask, why weren’t the negligent bishops held responsible? Or the case of Fr. Maciel?
As Catholics, we are people of the truth. So we need to accept truth, regardless of whether or not it is pleasant.
I approach attacks against the Church with the mindset: Criticism where due, but no misrepresentations please.
I don’t know exactly what they did, but they are both Godly men so I am confident that they did something, perhaps things that were not made public.
I wish that on a local level, by fellow priests or the bishop, the molesters would have been reported to local law enforcement so that investigations and due process could have occurred case by case.
No, it is not true. Pope Benedict was particularly effective in establishing the commissions for the protection of children and changing canon law to remove priests more quickly from ministry.
With Saint John Paul, it is a little more complicated due to the length of his papacy. Early on, it seems that he followed the advice of professionals and believed that sex offenders could be rehabilitated. This was the view of the psychiatric community at the time. Later in his papacy, he was much more hard-line. It was Saint John Paul who removed Bishops from office due to the sex abuse scandal, something that was unheard of previously.
Were these men perfect in every decision? Of course not. But they both acted for the good and make huge steps in making the Church not only safer but much more aware of the risks.
One of the great problems that Saint John Paul II had with this was that false accusations of sexual misconduct by the Clergy was a common by the Communists in Eastern Europe.
It took him a while to realize that some of the accusations in Europe and America were true. When he did find out, he took immediate action, up to and including the removal of some Bishops.
Some of the allegations in America were proven to be false. So, one has to wonder how many more were false but were assumed true since it’s hard to prove that a false allegation is false.
In 2011, Human Rights lawyers and clergy sex abuse victims filed an 80-page complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, urging the court to investigate and prosecute Pope Benedict and three other top Vatican officials for “crimes against humanity”.
The complaint accused the pope and 3 Cardinals of failing to punish the perpetrators and helping to cover up crimes, and it was accompanied by 22,000 pages of supporting documents.
After two years, last summer, the court replied that it could not investigate the matter because it did not fall within the court’s “subject-matter jurisdiction” which is focused on “crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely genocide…and war crimes.”
So…as far as I can see, no one has officially investigated these charges against the Pope and the Cardinals yet–it’s at a standstill.
You can find most of the legal documents for the case on the website for the Center for Constitutional Rights:
One of the reasons Pope Benedict has come under fire seems to be because of his role as Prefect of the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” when he was Cardinal.
For two decades, he was in charge of enforcing the “Crimen Sollicitationis” which is a directive instructing “confidentiality” of internal tribunal procedures, including sex abuse cases. All testimony had to be sealed and anyone speaking about it would be excommunicated, including victims and their families and friends.
Many have pointed to this “secrecy” directive as one of the reasons why sex abuse cases were not reported to police.
The Vatican stopped enforcing the Crimen in 2001.
And this is exactly the same as asking what did Pres Clinton, Pres. Reagan (both Jr. and Sr.), or Pres. Obama do about the same abuse within the Military, the Military Academies, or the Public Schools?
What about the Governors at the State Level?
What about the school board?
We don’t see anyone up in arms about their lack of response to no less a serious matter?
Please, the Church has taken a lot of steps to resolve this issue and to insure that such can not happen again. Indeed, even the mere unproven accusation is enough under the Dallas convention to suspend the priest, recall to the order or the diocese, and/or place them in Jail without the right to initial defense.
Let us move on and heal from this terrible darkness.
That is absolutely not true. Pope St.John Paul II gave Pope Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) lots of jurisdiction over the issue by putting the issue under the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (that Ratzinger headed), and together they stepped up the campaign against “filth in the Church,” as Benedict called it, to extremely high levels. Investigations were started, abuser priests were defrocked, rules were tightened, bishops were hauled over the coals for being stupid, etc.
I have ran across many, many accounts of what they have done to fight the issues over the past few years. Of course, there are always some who say they should have done more, and maybe they should have. But they certainly didn’t do nothing, and to say that they, and especially Benedict in particular, didn’t go head on against the abuse and tons and tons of effort against it is simply wrong - it flies in the face of the evidence, and usually seems malicious (which is unfortunate - in my search for the links below, for example, I had to sift through many, many sites that were simply bashing Catholic beliefs and practices and pretending that they were somehow related to abuse for justification. There is a real problem, but sometimes people make up fake similar sounding problems as well.).
Here are some recentish references. Some of them aren’t perfect (people tend to let the justifiable anger at such acts unjustifiably distort facts), and I really, really wish I could find some of the articles that had popped up on newadvent.org over the years, but this is what I could pull up in a few minutes on google.
Again, these aren’t perfect. One says “The maximum penalty for a priest convicted by a church tribunal is essentially losing his job: being defrocked, or removed from the clerical state. There are no jail terms and nothing to prevent an offender from raping again.”
But first, that’s not entirely accurate, the Church does do what it can to prevent repeat offences, but this leads to the second item which is: the Church doesn’t have civil authority in places like the U.S. If abusers aren’t imprisoned (and the Church reports what it knows to the state, which it now does), then that’s the fault of the state. I don’t know what some people expect - stealth squads of albino monks kidnapping suspected abusers in the middle of the night and locking them in monastery basements? The Church has no power to imprison an Irish or U.S. abuser, priest or not.