This report from last week slipped under my radar unnoticed.
The Vatican has issued new training material for newly-named bishops which tells them they don't have any obligation to report cases of clerical abuse of children unless the local law requires it. Their only obligation is to deal with the matter internally. Apparently, the notion of a moral obligation over and above an obligation to merely comply with local laws, to protect children and expose abusers is not a Catholic thing.
According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds.
Vatican Training Guidelines for Bishops
These training guidelines were drawn up by Monsignor Tony Anatrella, an ordained French priest and psychotherapist. So far, about 30 percent of the world's Catholic bishops have taken the course. Quite astonishingly, Pope Francis' specially created Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, was not involved in drawing up these guidelines. This Commission was specifically tasked with identifying best practice for dealing with abuse of minors but apparently has nothing to contribute.
What’s the point of creating a commission to promote best practices, and putting one of the Church’s most credible leaders on the abuse issue, Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, in charge of it, and yet not having it address the new leaders who will have to implement those practices?
John Allen, Associate Editor for the Catholic website, cruxnow.com
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect to the guidelines is that they say almost nothing about prevention of abuse in the first place. The view seems to be that nothing need be done until after a child has been abused, then all that need be done is the minimum required by the law. This way the matter needn't involve anyone else.
In one sense, this isn’t surprising. As BishopAccountability.org has pointed out, ‘zero tolerance,’ while often uttered by Catholic officials, isn’t even the official policy of the global church…
But it’s infuriating — and dangerous — that so many believe the myth that bishops are changing how they deal with abuse and that so little attention is paid when evidence to the contrary — like this disclosure by Allen — emerges.
Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), email in Newsweek.
So an organization which purports to be taking the issue of child abuse seriously is not only not bothering much about preventing it in the first place but also considers that it has no moral obligation in itself to even bring the perpetrators to justice, only to comply with the strict demands of local law. This is an organization that purports to hold to a higher moral authority than that of mankind and which still demands the right to be listened to on matters of morality and moral obligations.
The news that bishops are still being trained to cover up abuse rather than to expose it and being given little or no training in prevention comes just a few days after one of the two abuse victims appointed to a Vatican advisory body by Pope Francis himself has been forced off it by a vote of no confidence. Peter Saunders, who was abused by two priests as a teenager, has been a vocal critic of the way the Vatican has been dealing with clerical sex abuse.
Amongst the proposals the advisory body is considering putting to Pope Francis, is a day of prayer for the victims of clerical abuse.
'via Blog this'