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Catholic Church Introduces Rules To Address Abuse Scandals



Well, the new rules kind of address the scandals:
In its most significant revision to church law since a sex abuse crisis hit the United States a decade ago and roared back from remission in Europe this spring, the Vatican on Thursday issued new internal rules making it easier to discipline priests who have sexually abused minors.

But in a move that infuriated victims’ groups and put United States bishops on the defensive, it also codified “the attempted ordination of women” to the priesthood as one of the church’s most grave crimes, along with heresy, schism and pedophilia.
However:
It does not contain measures to hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch, nor does it require mandatory reporting of sex abuse to civil authorities even in countries where it is not required by civil law.

Instead, the changes codify as law special procedures that allow the Vatican to try priests accused of child sex abuse using faster juridical procedures rather than full ecclesiastical trials, making such procedures the rule, not the exception.
And perhaps most damning to the Church:
The revision announced on Thursday codifies a 1997 ruling that made attempting to ordain women as priests a crime punishable with excommunication.

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, an American priest with the Maryknoll religious order, said that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent him an excommunication letter within two months after he participated in a ceremony ordaining women, but that the Congregation had taken years while it considered the requests of bishops to defrock pedophiles.

“What I did, supporting the ordination of women, they saw as a serious crime,” Father Bourgeois said. “But priests who were abusing children, they did not see as a crime. What does that say?”

He added, “It’s leading to this ever-deepening crisis in the church in which so many people have left or are questioning how they can stay.”
And lost in all of this back-and-forth are the victims of the hideous crimes that these men of faith perpetrate on those who look to them for spiritual guidance.