1. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    25 Nov '06 20:582 edits
    http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/10/26/story416300672.asp

    Barely a week after Cardinal Ratziner became Pope Benedict XVI, he faced claims of obstructing justice after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the Church’s own investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret. The order was made in a confidential letter which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

    It asserted the Church’s right to hold inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood.

    The letter, ‘concerning very grave sins’, was sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that was overseen by Ratzinger.

    It spelt out to bishops the Church’s position on a number of matters including sexual abuse by a cleric ‘with a minor below the age of 18 years’.

    Ratzinger’s letter stated that the Church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’.

    The letter states that the Church’s jurisdiction ‘begins to run from the day when the minor has completed the 18th year of age’ and lasts for 10 years.

    It ordered that ‘preliminary investigations’ into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger’s office, which had the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the ‘functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests’.

    “Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,” Ratzinger’s letter concluded.

    Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating still carries penalties, including excommunication.

    The letter is referred to in documents relating to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a church in Texas on behalf of two alleged abuse victims.

    By sending the letter, lawyers acting for the alleged victims claim the Pope, as cardinal, conspired to obstruct justice.

    Ratzinger was originally named as a defendant in the case but, when he became Pope Benedict he succeeded, as Vatican head of state, in being granted immunity from being sued in the US.
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    25 Nov '06 21:031 edit
    I think that this was before he became pope, so he wasn't infallable then....
  3. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    25 Nov '06 21:095 edits
    It's very telling how Catholics who would dare defy the Church's claim to confidential jurisdiction are threatened with excommunication, while that same penalty isn't applied to the very molestors causing the problem in the first place in their role as agents of the Church.

    It makes it very clear that what is most important to the Church in this matter is saving face and protecting its image. It is willing to excommunicate otherwise faithful and diligent members for nothing more than bringing a crime to the attention of proper authorities who actually do have jurisdiction!
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    25 Nov '06 21:24
    organised to provide a living from the faithful 🙄 if that gets upset, the whole house of cards comes down...
  5. Donationkirksey957
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    25 Nov '06 23:28
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    It's very telling how Catholics who would dare defy the Church's claim to confidential jurisdiction are threatened with excommunication, while that same penalty isn't applied to the very molestors causing the problem in the first place in their role as agents of the Church.

    It makes it very clear that what is most important to the Church in this m ...[text shortened]... an bringing a crime to the attention of proper authorities who actually do have jurisdiction!
    I agree that on the surface it appears they want to safe face or protect their image, but isn't this behavior more mafia like?
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    25 Nov '06 23:46
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I agree that on the surface it appears they want to safe face or protect their image, but isn't this behavior more mafia like?
    Perhaps I was a little harsh - a house of cards is not the right description.

    Leaving aside all moral responsibility, is it not in the interests of the church to keep this quiet? And why should it not act to protect it's interests, after all, if it is shown to have 'overlooked' these offences, the faithfull might open their eyes to what has been going on, desert the church, and income will fall....
  7. Donationkirksey957
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    25 Nov '06 23:521 edit
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    Perhaps I was a little harsh - a house of cards is not the right description.

    Leaving aside all moral responsibility, is it not in the interests of the church to keep this quiet? And why should it not act to protect it's interests, after all, if it is shown to have 'overlooked' these offences, the faithfull might open their eyes to what has been going on, desert the church, and income will fall....
    I tend to disagree. Let me explain. A new pope coming in has the opportuntiy to take advantage of the immediate excitement and goodwill of his papacy. He could come in and set a "new tone." If he came out and said there were some horrible things done in the past and I aim to make it a transparent process and I will bring in outside guidance to make sure the process is clean, he would be hailed a hero.

    He could also set a new tone by donating millions of $ to agencies that address childhood sexual abuse.

    Finally, he could set a new tone by demanding that every active priest seek regular psychotherapy as part of their on-going professional development.
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    26 Nov '06 00:03
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I tend to disagree. Let me explain. A new pope coming in has the opportuntiy to take advantage of the immediate excitement and goodwill of his papacy. He could come in and set a "new tone." If he came out and said there were some horrible things done in the past and I aim to make it a transparent process and I will bring in outside guidance to make sur ...[text shortened]... y active priest seek regular psychotherapy as part of their on-going professional development.
    ...but if it were shown that (in his fallability - ok sorry about that) he was key in keeping it all on the hush hush before, that kinda detracts from the shine on the image doesn't it... be nice if the church found that it could open up a bit to be sure, but what are the chances of that happening?
  9. Donationkirksey957
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    26 Nov '06 00:07
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    ...but if it were shown that (in his fallability - ok sorry about that) he was key in keeping it all on the hush hush before, that kinda detracts from the shine on the image doesn't it... be nice if the church found that it could open up a bit to be sure, but what are the chances of that happening?
    I think there is something in the Bible about "the truth setting people free."
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    26 Nov '06 00:08
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I think there is something in the Bible about "the truth setting people free."
    Amen.





    eh - Whose 'Truth'?
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    26 Nov '06 00:09
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    Amen.





    eh - Whose 'Truth'?
    I'm talkin Jesus, goddammit!
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    26 Nov '06 00:12
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I'm talkin Jesus, goddammit!
    ah - not wot the church says then.
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    27 Nov '06 11:29
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/10/26/story416300672.asp

    Barely a week after Cardinal Ratziner became Pope Benedict XVI, he faced claims of [b]obstructing justice after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the Church’s own investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret. The order was made i ...[text shortened]... eded, as Vatican head of state, in being granted immunity from being sued in the US.[/b]
    [/b]
    Much ado about nothing:

    http://www.canonlaw.info/blogarch05.htm

    (Scroll down to the entry dated 27 April 2005)
  14. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    27 Nov '06 15:203 edits
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Much ado about nothing:

    http://www.canonlaw.info/blogarch05.htm

    (Scroll down to the entry dated 27 April 2005)
    Do you think it it right that an otherwise faithful and diligent person who defies the Church's asserted jurisdiction should be excommunicated, while the priest who committed the molestation in the first place is not subject to that penalty?

    Do you agree with the letter that only a priest is validly able to act as a legal advocate for a child abused by a priest, and that only a priest can validly promote justice in the matter?
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    27 Nov '06 17:221 edit
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    Do you think it it right that an otherwise faithful and diligent person who defies the Church's asserted jurisdiction should be excommunicated, while the priest who committed the molestation in the first place is not subject to that penalty?

    Do you agree with the letter that only a priest is validly able to act as a legal advocate for a child abused by a priest, and that only a priest can validly promote justice in the matter?
    You haven't responded to the fact that, as Ed Peters points out, half the "facts" in your news report are patent nonsense. Not to mention that your article equivocates between provisions of canon law and those dealing with secular law -- misapplying the latter as though they were meant for the former.

    Excommunication is not a penalty imposed as punishment for a crime -- it is a medicinal penalty to induce the person who has committed an offence (usually against the unity and teaching authority of the Church) to return to the fold of the faithful. As such, it isn't a question of whether the penalty of excommunication is "right" in the sense of being just in a particular situation; it's a question of whether it would help in bringing about a reconciliation between the person and the Church.

    So your first question is based on a misconception of what excommunication is and is intended for.

    As to your second question, it's quite clear from the article you cited yourself that this is a provision that is used only in exceptional circumstances (assuming they have reported it correctly).

    EDIT: I don't find any mention of these "private tribunals" in the Code of Canon Law.
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