“Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse” The Guardian

Cross6 "The Vatican instructed Catholic bishops around the world to cover up cases of sexual abuse or risk being thrown out of the Church.

The Observer has obtained a 40-year-old confidential document from the secret Vatican archive which lawyers are calling a ‘blueprint for deception and concealment’. One British lawyer acting for Church child abuse victims has described it as ‘explosive’.

The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of ‘strictest’ secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.

They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to ‘be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.’

The document, which has been confirmed as genuine by the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, is called ‘Crimine solicitationies’, which translates as ‘instruction on proceeding in cases of solicitation’."  The Guardian


I am a writer of fiction among other things.  I think it would be difficult to invent a "plot twist" like this one.

I think of all the good priests I have known.  Some I have mentioned before.  God bless them and their memory.  "John XXIII?"  His seal was on this monstrosity? 

This brings to mind all the "churchy" movies in which evil prelates value "The Church" more than "Christianity."  Wasn’t Gabriel Byrne in a couple of those?  And there is the scene in the Ridley Scott epic "Kingdom of Heaven" in which the fictional Balian of Ibelin tells the patriarch of Jerusalem that he has "learned a lot about religion" from him. 

In London I once heard an Irish Carmelite preach a sermon in which he remarked that his flock had too much of religion and not enough of Faith…

Don’t bother to write to tell me that you are an atheist and that we have all merited this by our gullibility.  That would be a trivial comment.  pl


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49 Responses to “Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse” The Guardian

  1. arbogast says:

    The movie The Verdict, starring Paul Newman, was based on a real malpractice case that occurred at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.
    The religion was changed to Catholicism in the movie.
    The patient’s name was Edabeth Katz.

  2. different clue says:

    If the Catholic Church were to shrink (or disappear) it would leave behind a large (or unfillable) vacuum. My feeling is that this would be extremely dangerous, even
    though I am not able to say specifically why.
    Is there a last-ditch mechanism by which the Laity
    can impeach and replace sections of the Hierarchy? Or even all of it if that is what it takes to save the
    Church? Remove a compromised Hierarchy and install or evolve-into-place
    a new non-compromised Hierarchy? Can huge sections of the Laity maintain a “Church in Extremis” or a “Church in Emergency”?
    I am not Catholic (obviously) so I don’t know how these things work, or can work, or can be made to work. I hope a Lay Leadership and Membership can figure this out fast enough to matter.

  3. Don says:

    As a non-Catholic, I have had great admiration for John XXIII. His work seemed to bring a bright new day to millions of Catholics and those who related to them.
    I find it incredibly sad that this document could come from him, and only hope that further investigation will reveal that a rogue element issued this without his knowledge. Given the broad distribution this had, I realize that hope to be but a dim one.

  4. Paul in NC says:

    I was raised in the Catholic Church. I left it as soon as I was old enough to think for myself. It’s becoming clear to me that within the Catholic priesthood pedophilia is an ancient,endimic problem. This forty year old document reinforces that belief.
    I don’t mean to disparage all priests. But does anyone really believe this is a late twentieth century problem?

  5. John Moore says:

    Well, weren’t certain abuses by the Roman Catholic Church an impetus for the Protestant Reformation, whereby Christianity became individualized to an extent? Did not Christ himself urge his followers to look within themselves for God and not rely upon temples and priests? Who is the greater fool, the victims who went to the Church first to report the crime rather than the local police and are then sworn to secrecy (covering up a crime), or the bishops and priests who knew what they were doing was wrong? How is the Roman Catholic Church different from a corporation that suppresses knowledge of criminal activity by its own executives in order to maintain its public image? The difference is miniscule because the underlying reason for doing it is the same – people in power wish to remain in power while maintaining the illusion that nothing’s wrong.The institution, be it a church or corporation, would survive the scandal regardless, but individual reputations would not.

  6. frank durkee says:

    Since I have been hanging around religious circles as a professional since the late ’50’s, it seems to me that the same basic pattern prevailed in most denominations until about 30 years ago. Deal with it privately and out of the public eye, get the abused person to vow to secrecy and proceed as thogh nothin had happenned. This is the pattern outlined in the so called “document”. This pattern was followed in both hetero and same sex situations and usually with those younger than consent.
    I’m not seeking toeither explain or justify this pattern. it was ‘the way of that world until fairly recently. In that sense the pattern does not surprise me. What does is having an “official document implementing it as official policy”. Somehow that rings less true to me. I am not a Roman Catholic and I am a member of an heirachical church.

  7. Cujo359 says:

    Don’t bother to write to tell me that you are an atheist and that we have all merited this by our gullibility. That would be a trivial comment.
    How about this, then? Anyone who claims to be infallible has a big image problem. If the Pope’s infallible, how can someone who is infallible set up a system of selecting priests that doesn’t catch pedophiles ahead of time? The only way I know to make that objection go away is to cover up the evidence that he made a mistake.
    I think most Catholics are smart enough to see that the Pope is human. Most of the ones I have any dealings with are, anyway.
    Nevertheless, this is one of the many reasons I’m an atheist. In the end, you have to ignore stuff that you know isn’t true in order to believe in just about any religion.

  8. JM says:

    The fact that the Vatican maintains “secret archives” says a lot, I think.
    Wonder what else is in there…

  9. dSmith says:

    John XXIII?
    I’m stunned, heartbroken. I’m an ex-catholic, an atheist, but I always admired him and Fr. Damien as moral exemplars.
    Oh well. There haven’t been any scandals about Blessed Damien, have there?

  10. Patrick Lang says:

    The depth of the Church’s self degredation is shown by references in these comments to medieval simony, sale of indulgences and modern corporate filth. pl

  11. JT says:

    This reference is the first that I have read of this particular document. And I find it disheartening. Although long alienated from the church, some of the most enthusiastically human and loving people of my youth were nuns and lay teachers at my Catholic high school. They were inspired by the accepting and outward looking example of John XXIII. The reality though is that depending on a fallible human being to embody any body of faith will lead to some disillusion. Thus the necessity some personal responsibility for the embodiment of a tradition and a concomitant reevaluation of the relationship with the hierarchy.

  12. fasteddiez says:

    Different Clue:
    How about an Avignon Papacy Part Deux, starting right here in the US of A?

  13. Richard Armstrong says:

    1. I am a “cradle” Southern Baptist.
    2. I married a lovely Catholic girl and together we have raised our daughters in the Catholic faith.
    3. I attended RCIA (Right of Catholic Initiation) to completion and chose not to change faiths for personal reasons of faith.
    With these points admitted up front I’d like to ask that anyone who attempts to speak to “Papal Infallability” take a very, very few minutes to become more informed about the principle. Simply put, the Pope is “infallible” in very, very few instances involving divine revelations. Since the adoption of the principle in 1870, it has only been invoked once – in 1950 when the Assumption of Mary was defined as an article of faith.
    The letter from the Pope to the Archbishops mentioned above was not and is not covered by the principle of Papal Infallibility.
    With the advent of the internet giving anyone with a curious mind almost instantaneous access to information, the continued promulgation of inaccurate beliefs is very nearly inexecusable.
    I would suggest that anyone wanting to learn more about how good men in worthy institutions can make terrible decisions take the time to learn about the “Iron Law of Institutions”.

  14. Richard Armstrong says:

    COL, please feel free to append these comments to my previous comment.
    To all who have felt it “necessary” to leave their faith because the heirarchy of that faith has failed to meet your personal metrics.
    How many of you are willing to give up your American citizenship because of actions of our Government of the past eight years?
    Are you still an American after learning that we torture?
    Are you still an American after learning that we kidnap and imprison people without due process?
    Are you still an American after learning the NSA spies on Americans without warrants?
    Are you still an American after learning the FBI abuses “National Security Letters”?
    Are you still an American after observing the damage our leaders have done to the rule of law?
    Are your beliefs and actions consistent and equivelant?

  15. Canid says:

    John XXIII died in 1963, correct? So how did this “forty-year-old” document show up bearing his seal?

  16. Sara says:

    The document is not really new for those following this story over the past six or so years. It is the basis of a Federal Court decision in pre-trial matters, I believe it is a Kentucky Case, that will allow the lawyers to take the deposition of the Vatican Authorities. The previous Pope and this one too have put much pressure on Bush, and the DoJ to “do something” about this order to submit to deposition — but the order still stands.
    You can read all about the document at the website, BishopsAccountability. I believe there are several other cases where the lawyers have requested deposition orders, and these are under advisement. In plain language, the Vatican document orders not only Priests and Bishops, but all catholics to violate state and Federal law, where any sort of “duty to report” abuse of minors is on the books. (Teachers, Psychologists, etc.,) If the issue is eventually appealed it will become a very significant church-state case.

  17. Stormcrow says:

    John XXIII???
    Sigh. Former Catholic here. If I weren’t “former” already, this would probably have done the trick.
    As for the present state of the Church?
    Mix politics and religion in equal parts. Stir well. Simmer for 1700 years. This is the mess that results? My advice would be to not use that particular recipe.
    Since this is the road evangelical Protestantism has been walking down in America these last 50 years, this should be construed as a cautionary tale.

  18. cletracsteve says:

    Last week I had dinner with a Baptist pastor from Ecuador. He “informed” me that God and religion have nothing to do with each other. One is spiritual, the other is organizational.

  19. jonst says:

    I like how the document employs the term “unspeakable crime”. True enough.
    When I was going to catholic grade school, by the time I was eight, thanks to two older brothers, one of whom was an alter boy, I knew who not to get ‘caught alone’ with. (it was not precisely clear to me then what would happen if you got “caught alone”, just that you should never let it happen. Go to the bathroom. Get outside, whatever, but get away) Not implying that this intel was dead on. But it was close. And it was known in a widespread, but haphazard, manner. The ‘wise guy’ kids were the most likely to know the intel. Or, perhaps, only the most likely to talk about what they knew/heard, anyway. I wondered then…and wonder now, why did the leadership allow it go on. Sorta the 8 year old saying to himself, ‘well, if Mickey O’Donnell knows, and his Pa knows, and I know, and my brothers know, why doesn’t the Monsignor know? Why doesn’t Mikey’s Ma know? Does she know? Mikey says no. Why don’t MY parents know? Why does Billy, my brother, say not to tell them?’
    No answers then. The ‘answers’ came later.

  20. d. m. nolan says:

    This piece from the Guardian is over 5 years old. What made you decide to comment on it at this time ?

  21. Ormolov says:

    I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Mine was spent with my Catholic parents in Sacramento, CA. My mother is still upset about the passing of Proposition 8, denying the right of homosexuals to marry in California. My older sister is in a committed same-sex relationship and my mom was steamed about her Church’s activities in keeping equal rights from her daughter.
    My parents practice their Catholicism at a Newman Center, which is a movement of progressive Catholics found on their hometown college campus. My parents do not believe in the infallibility of any Pope and do not agree with most of the Church’s current teachings, apart from a New Testament love of Jesus and his peaceful message. But the coming schism in Catholicism is perfectly exemplified by them and their congregation. I can’t imagine this revelation will do much to keep the First World Catholic Church connected to the Third World Catholic Church.
    This is my response to Richard Armstrong, who made very strong points with his two posts. Are we still Americans if we torture? Well, I have a Chancellor of Mississippi in my ancestry who talked Jefferson Davis into the Presidency of the Confederacy. I own their crimes as well, but nobody better call me a slaveholder, for I am not.
    Churches and states die off when they no longer represent any meaningful population. America itself was running straight for that cliff’s edge up to a few weeks ago. We may not have identified ourselves as Americans or defended the flag much longer if things had continued as they were. In the Vatican, things are continuing as they were.
    I walked away from my parents’ church when I was twelve years old on the written advice of Clarence Darrow, whose father told him: “When deciding whether to believe in something first doubt it. Then if it survives the test of your doubt, believe in it.”
    Christianity has been arguably the single most important and successful organization in the history of the world. In the last five years we are now realizing this ancient empire has been entirely in the closet.

  22. Stormcrow says:

    Canid wrote …

    To all who have felt it “necessary” to leave their faith because the heirarchy of that faith has failed to meet your personal metrics.
    How many of you are willing to give up your American citizenship because of actions of our Government of the past eight years?

    Canid, you’re comparing apples and oranges.
    Bad thinking. Sorry, but it is.
    You can “leave the Catholic Church” by simply walking away and refusing to attend services.
    You can “leave America” only by emigrating to a county that’ll accept you. This is both a harder and a trickier proposition. The consequences are more serious, more imponderable, and more liable to be permanent.
    (1) Which countries would make better places to be citizens of?
    (2) Which countries are willing to accept American emigrants?
    (3) Which countries would accept you, specifically?
    (4) Which countries are feasible from the practical standpoints of available work and places to live?
    A candidate would have to be in the intersection of all these sets, and probably more I have not enumerated, in order to make the cut.
    This is a physical as well as an affiliation change, with all that implies.

  23. No Sainthood for John XXIII perhaps? The first criminal indictment of a Priest for sexual predation in the United States was in Arlington County, VA in the early or mid-80’s. This triggered the whole issue in the public mind in my opinion. The Priest worked in DC and the child was in Arlington. I believe the Commonwealth Attorney (Prosecutor) was Helen Fahey.

  24. Ian says:

    John XXIII. Among other things, he was the first Pope in quite some time who didn’t think people like me (Anglicans) would be going to hell. Vatican II was a huge deal, and there was a good reason why he was called the Good Pope. Now this.
    Some of the holy orders are still OK. The Jesuits and Franciscans are still “real police,” as The Wire would put it. One can only hope that the Jesuits have a plan to seize control.
    Richard Armstrong, I left a Church because of extreme homophobia once. I’m not gay, it was just unbearable. And yes, some people did emmigrate from the US over torture, not many but I respect the princiipled decision of those who did. If you’re going to stay in a bad institution, you have to figure out how you’ll work to change things.

  25. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Remote as it might be, given that Vatican II was not well received throughout the Catholic Church that Benedict is known for his conservative outlook on doctrinal matters and that the Curia is known for its secret if not conspiratorial ways, what are the possibilities that the 40 year old document is a forgery designed to smear and raise questions about the overall judgment of John XXIII? What better way to loosen the ties that many within the Church have towards him in order to gain support for changes that he would have opposed?
    “Too much religion and not enough Faith.”

  26. Dave of Maryland says:

    Looks like a hoax to me.
    A secret Vatican archive? Confirmed by unnamed sources in England & Wales? A 39 page Latin document that just happens to be in English?
    Signed by a pope who did not quite survive five years in office (brief for a pope). I looked at the document but did not find a papal signature.
    So is this document a translation? Why would a translation be necessary? Rome, to this day, is a Latin outfit. At the time, every priest in the world celebrated a Latin Mass. Every.Single.Day.
    So now I’m looking at the Observer article for a name. Any name. And I found Texas lawyer Daniel Shea.
    So I Googled him. I found the following, from La Salette Journal. This is a Catholic paper, but the date is June 23, 2005: More than three years ago:

    Attorney Daniel Shea is a Houston, Texas-based lawyer who used to be a seminarian and whose hatred of the Church would seem to be rather evident based upon his own rhetoric. As already noted, he has referred to the Church as “a criminal institution” while asserting that “those who contribute to it any longer are aiding and abetting this criminal conduct called obstruction of justice.” He has also asserted that “Ratzinger and Co” are engaging in an ‘international conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
    Attorney Shea has also been a guest speaker for the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. He spoke at their 2nd Conference which was held at the Hilton, Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas on August 26-29, 1993. His involvement with this group is documented at this website link: http://www.transgenderlegal.com/ictlephis1.htm (p. 4).

    You can read Daniel Shea’s resume here. He is, indeed, a former Catholic seminarian who soured on the Church & now represents transgender clients.
    In the Independent we read,

    The Vatican document from 1962, carrying the seal of Pope John XXIII, was discovered by a German priest with close links to the Vatican and leaked to a lawyer in Texas, Daniel Shea, who acts for victims of sexual abuse by priests.

    An unnamed German priest. Could he be a close friend of the current – German – pope? How convenient.
    In the Independent article (linked above), we read,

    The Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States said: “Those making this claim … are taking the document entirely out of context and therefore distorting it completely.” It added that the document “has no bearing on civil law. It does not forbid the civil reporting of civil crimes.”

    So I went to the Conference of Catholic Bishops in the United States & I clicked on News. There were a lot of entries. So I searched on Those making this claim, the phrase quoted in the Independent. It was not found.
    I don’t know about the Observer itself, but it’s sister paper, the Guardian, is suspect. While I like the liberal slant of the Guardian, I have lately taken to reading their religious columns. Those columns are intensely, personally, hostile to Christian religion specifically & to metaphysics generally. I myself have a hard time with this point of view as much of my life has been taken up with discarnates, spooks, ghosts, demons, etc. You may scoff, but I’ve got an ongoing problem upstairs in my own house, with my own 8 year old daughter, and it’s beginning to make me worry.
    The Church is guilty of many sins, but it is also the victim of many hoaxes.

  27. jdledell says:

    I think Frank Durkee was spot on with his diagnosis that 40 years ago the religious world was much different. Society in general and families always hushed up the “dirty linen”
    The hush job was not just endemic to Catholics. My father-in-law was a Lutheran minister and then an official with the national Lutheran headquarters. After he got used to my Jewishness and after he retired he shared much of what he had to deal with in the 40’s and 50’s Lutheran clergy.
    While homosexual episodes may not have been as prevelent with Lutherans as with Catholic clergy but there were numerous episodes of pedophilia and sex with married women members, especially connected with counseling. All these were hushed by headquarters and ministers either reassigned or expelled depending on the gravity of the offense.
    I am not surprised by Pope John XXIII’s instructions. While it might be disappointing it truely was a sign of the times.

  28. Fred says:

    Why does the Guardian story quote a USAF chaplain stationed in Germany as the legal expect in church law?

  29. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    On reflection, if the document is genuine, I have to wonder whether we’re attaching too much importance to its content and not enough to the fact that it is finally seeing the light of day.
    This may well be part of a still-coming-to-fruition realization on the part of the Vatican that it needs to to own up to its role in what has been a disaster for the church.

  30. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    On further reflection (and a prod from you) the obvious question comes up as to how the document got into the hands of the press.
    My money is on the good guys. I really think they want to do it right but they’ve got a big mountain to climb. Moreover, that’s hard to do when all you’re used to wearing are cassocks.
    Benedict’s got a good start, however. For example, look at the recent editorial revolution he promulgated at the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
    I don’t see that as a PR makeover but as a genuine attempt to bring the church into the 21st century.
    Allowing the Pope John XXIII document to be leaked may well be another.

  31. Richard Armstrong says:

    Ian: “If you’re going to stay in a bad institution, you have to figure out how you’ll work to change things.”
    You grasped one of the points I was trying to make.
    The other point I was trying impress is that I believe that walking away from the scene of a crime doesn’t relieve the individual of their moral obligation to do something about that crime.

  32. hope4usa says:

    In response to Mr. Armstrong’s questions above, YES I am still an American. Why? Because the Founding Fathers gave us a method to address criminal wrongdoing by our elected officials. To vote, to investigate, to prosecute any people who violate the Law of the Land and when necessary demonstrate. Although the argument has been well made that this is not a democracy but an oligarchy, I wish that I could remain naive to those facts. Does it mean I stop trying? No.
    My religion (RC), I believe should provide the moral fabric and guidelines I need to conduct my life. It is not a democracy, nor can I change their behaviour, unless I choose to be Martin Luther. It is the moral hypocrisy that I find repugnant from both the political and religious arenas.
    One, I can do something about.

  33. fnord says:

    When I was a kid, 10-14, I lived in a very very religious commune, where my math-teacher would quote the bible, and it was pretty weird. I fought a lot in those days, thankfully I am not small. The evil of religion, in ANY shape, when it turns into fanatiscm, is very very ugly. The acceptance of unacceptable crimes is just one of the symptoms of that kind of fanatics.
    Beautiful religion, on the other hand, wich celebraes the love of life, is another matter.

  34. FDChief says:

    I remember reading somewhere that when the early Christian church became the state religion of the later Roman Empire that the fundamental, irreconcilable dichotomy between rendering unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s and God that which was God’s forced the two entities to choose which set of ethics should prevail. The state’s won. A huge portion of the history of the Roman church since that time is one of prelates who are perforce temporal powers as much – and sometimes more than – spiritual leaders.
    ISTM that this s not just a Roman problem. All churches, once they move past the “meeting-in-someone’s-house” phase have to deal with the issue of how much temporal power and authority can exist comfortably with spiritual rectitude. For thrones and dominations do, often must do, things that aren’t morally palatible. If this document appalls you you weren’t paying attention in history when the professor told you about the selling of indulgences or the Albigensian Crusade. Churches do what they have to do to survive and prosper. Heiratic churches, especially, tend to value conformity and secrecy over chaotic revelations and an informed and unruly laity…
    One question this issue raises is the one of priestly celibacy. My understanding is that the early Church chose not to make this an issue, and the letters of the Apostles even suggest that there were married couples and even women in positions of authority in the early Church. The women were suppressed by the Pauline faction and the couples ejected (I believe) in the early middle ages to reduce the problems of heiritance of clerical positions and property. I find no unequivocal insistance in the Gospels for a exclusively celibate male priesthood and these recurring scandals might suggest that the Holy See revisit this dogma.
    Tragic. Yes. Surprising? No.

  35. Jack from NYC says:

    I think information such as this has to be examined within the context of its times, not ours. Yes, such a document is troubling, and no pope would issue it today, but is it that out of line for its times? I am no longer a Catholic, but do think it time for people to move on.

  36. John Moore says:

    It is with priests such as this one detailed in this article, http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/13/sbm.cambodia.ponchaud/index.html, where the future of the Catholic Church may be found. Perhaps there were more than a few bad apples, but overall, the entire barrel has a fine batch of apples most likely.

  37. scs says:

    I seem to be the only one who read the article to the bottom:
    ‘This document is about the Church’s internal disciplinary procedures should a priest be accused of using confession to solicit sex. It does not forbid victims to report civil crimes. The confidentiality talked about is aimed to protect the accused as applies in court procedures today. It also takes into consideration the special nature of the secrecy involved in the act of confession.’

    ‘It is certainly an indication of the pathological obsession with secrecy in the Catholic Church, but in itself it is not a smoking gun.’
    Conversely, everyone else commenting seems to be assuming that this document *is* a smoking gun and *does* prevent reporting of civil crimes.

  38. scs says:

    ‘You can read Daniel Shea’s resume here. He is, indeed, a former Catholic seminarian who soured on the Church & now represents transgender clients. ‘
    And of course, after criticizing everyone else for failing to read the article, I myself fail to read the comments. It looks like Dave from Maryland spotted the hoax before I did.

  39. Sara says:

    aln val — The document is not a forgery. It was discovered by plaintif’s lawyers in several locations as they subpoened materials in a number of cases, and there are numerous references to it in other documents. Moreover, it is not new policy on the part of John XXIII, rather it is a restatement of Canon Law that is centuries old. When it became public a few years ago it was widely discussed, including at a special section of the ABA convention among defense and Plaintif’s attorneys.
    Why it is important? It explains the common pattern of behavior of the Bishops in various parts of the world to public revelation of a problem that crosses cultures and nationalities, both before this became a public issue, and afterwards as they faced so many legal processes. Didn’t matter whether the problem was a religious order Seminary in Austria, in the Irish Church, or across the USA, the Bishops responded in lock-step, and that pattern of behavior needed to be understood.
    The problem it reveals, and which I content could become a landmark church-state legal case pivots on a true clash between Canon and Civil/Criminal law. Canon Law seeks to protect the elevated status of the ordained, even if the ordained is guilty of serious sexual abuse. Civil and Criminal law treats all parties as individuals, with the claim of special status for the ordained as irrelevant to the offense or crime. The fact that the document actually orders Church Officials and indeed all Catholics to violate civil/criminal law, as for instance to not report a suspected or known violation of law to civil authority, presents a highly significant constitutional church/State issue.

  40. feckless says:

    Did Sadaam Hussein ever issue a decree to facilitate the rape of children? Did Hitler?
    What is more evil than the arbiters of morality systematically raping babies?
    Looks like a “mushroom cloud smoking gun” to me, can we liberate the world from this cabal of sexual predators?
    The odds of a priest molesting your children is much much more likely than a member of your family being a victim of a terrorist attack.
    PS if you voted for a non child rapist like Obama, you need to do penance.

  41. David Blimmo says:

    The governments of the world should ban together and burn the Vatican and every Catholic church to the ground. EVERY catholic is guilty of child rape due to their personal decisions to not act when it was common knowledge around the world that perverted Catholic priets were raping children. I say we put all Catholics on prison chain gangs.

  42. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Apparently, god is afraid of the truth coming out.

  43. Petr says:

    I think the sensationalism in the reporting here is a little… over the top.
    The document itself, as far as I can tell, was never ‘secret’. Rather, it deals with secrecy; specifically, it was written to address the issue of priestly solicitation DURING THE ACT OF PENANCE. Apparently, some priests sought to spice up the confessional with some creative penitence. Perhaps all that sin being offered gave the priests ideas… In a thousand plus years of the sacrament of penance, maybe it’s inevitable that some subset of the priesthood would use the confessional as a ‘hotline’ for identifying sinners… whom they could then proposition….
    But, given the purported sanctity of the confessional, proceeding in cases like this, it follows, must be secret. It’s just a logical outgrowth of the rules of confession and penitence in the Catholic Church (I’m not condoning or condemning the confessional, just pointing out that public investigations of soliciting during confession is counter-productive to Catholicisms internal logic. ) The oaths of secrecy were administered in order that the sanctity of the confessional was maintained.
    In any event, the nefariousness here isn’t that John XXIII wrote this (he didn’t) or that it’s a ‘secret’ document (it isn’t, it’s a document that deals with secrecy). The wrong is that, much later, the Catholic Church used these same, very specific, rules for investigations into pedophilic clergy that had nothing whatsoever to do with any sacrement.. Perhaps they were lazy. Or perhaps they were amoral. But what is clear is that, needing some rules, they decided to apply existing rules, written for a very specific situation, towards another equally specific, but very different situation. There are good reasons (from the point of view of Catholics) for the original rules and their original applications. Nothing nefarious here. It was not until the rules were applied to a different situation that we can judge them harshly

  44. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Jack from NYC, said:
    “I am no longer a Catholic, but do think it time for people to move on.”
    Why would you want people to move on before the full extent of the child-raping (and the rapists being brought to justice for their crimes) is known?

  45. BassGuyGG says:

    I am not surprised. This has been going on for many years and could not have happened so universally without the collusion or at least tacit blessing from the highest levels of the Vatican. Misconduct by the Clergy is one of my main reasons for becoming an ex-Catholic.
    Whether they realize it or not, the Catholic church is paying the price for their cover-ups. First of all, it’s going to cost them massive amounts of money in settlements.
    Secondly, the Catholic clergy is in such disrepute at this time that nobody wants to enter it. There are massive parishes here in the U.S. that are served by only one full-time priest, or even sometimes sharing priests between more than one parish.
    With fewer priests and the laity taking up more of their functions, the Catholic church seems to be moving towards a more Protestantized model of a “bottom-up” hierarchy, in which the Clergy is accountable to parishoners, rather than the “top-down” structure that currently exists.
    With fewer priests available and more involvement by parishoners, there are movements within the Catholic church like “Voice of the Faithful” in which lay members are demanding more transparancy and accountablity from the Clergy.
    It will take a long time but I think they are going in the right direction.

  46. bbgunn says:

    I hate to admit it, but I was thinking the exact same thing that ‘alnval’ posted. The present Vatican hierarchy is extremely conservative and secretive. Many come from the Opus Dei faction. I would be extremely disappointed, but not at all surprised, that a ‘smear campaign’ is being waged covertly against John XXIII.
    A final anecdote. My mom (age 74)told me a while back that the parish priest at her parochial school in the 1940’s told her religion class that Hell would be full of ‘corrupted priests and clergy.’

  47. John Hickey says:

    If the document is 40 years old, how could John XXIII have been involved, he died in 1963. It sounds more like John Paul VI, who rolled back the tide of change ushered in by John XXIII

  48. Caren says:

    Not surprising, really.
    This document is why Cardinal Law is living in a luxury apartment suite in the Vatican and has a $12000+ monthly stipend. He is being rewarded for protecting the “Church” and the brotherhood of priests instead of following his faith and protecting his flock.
    I was raised Catholic. I have relatives who were priests and nuns. And while I feel for those good people I know, I simply cannot support the hierarchy or the institution any longer.

  49. ads says:

    Paul in NC wrote
    I don’t mean to disparage all priests. But does anyone really believe this is a late twentieth century problem?
    I don’t understand why this came as such a revelation (heh) in the late 1990s. I’m Jewish and this was common knowledge (and treated as something of a joke) among my public school peers, back in the 1970s.
    I can even remember my father chortling over a local case at the dinner table one time. My mother disapproved, but only because of the venue. The Sacrament of Extreme Friction wasn’t appropriate mealtime conversation.

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