Questionable Motives

February 8, 2010

How child abuse becomes institutionalized: When did the Vatican know and what did it do about it?

Filed under: Catholic Church,child abuse,Germany — tildeb @ 10:22 pm

From Spiegel Online International:

This is what it looks like, the document of a conspiracy: 24 pages, with appendix, in Latin, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. A “norma interna,” or confidential set of guidelines for all bishops, who were required to keep it a secret for all eternity, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

The guidelines, issued in the year of our Lord 1962, address a sensitive subject: sex in the confessional. The Vatican doesn’t put it quite that directly, preferring to use more guarded terminology to describe what happens when a priest leads a member of his flock astray before, during or after the confession — in other words, when he provokes a penitent “toward impure and obscene matters” through “words or signs or nods of the head (or) by touch.”

On the surface, the Vatican’s objective is to protect the sacrament of the confession. In reality, however, it is trying to uphold the Catholic Church’s claim to being a superior moral authority.

Nothing can be allowed to besmirch this authority: not the sexual abuse of children and adolescents, committed by thousands of Catholic priests worldwide; not the secret relationships between pastor and their housekeepers; not the covering-up of priests’ children; and not the love affairs between gay clerics. They are all cases of a double standard that arose because it is difficult for people — even priests — to subordinate their human desires to a papal encyclical.

This code of silence has been upheld for decades, in some cases informally and in some cases by virtue of Vatican directives like the 1962 guideline.

According to a SPIEGEL survey of Germany’s 27 dioceses conducted last week, at least 94 priests and members of the laity in Germany are suspected or have been suspected of abusing countless children and adolescents since 1995.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] See my previous post here. […]

    Pingback by When is a child sexual abuse scandal considered a humiliation for the perps? « Questionable Motives — February 19, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | Reply


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