Questionable Motives

January 19, 2011

What does a smoking gun in Vatican terms look like over institutionalized child abuse?

Filed under: Catholic Church,child abuse,Crime,Vatican — tildeb @ 9:08 am

The smoking gun has been found. In this AP article we read that

A 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims’ groups described as “the smoking gun” needed to show that the church enforced a worldwide culture of covering up crimes by pedophile priests.

The newly revealed letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.

What’s almost as sad is that many faithful catholics will continue to excuse this reprehensible institution for its gross acts of policy indecencies against victims of criminal abuse.

Child-abuse activists in Ireland said the 1997 letter demonstrates that the protection of pedophile priests from criminal investigation was not only sanctioned by Vatican leaders but ordered by them.

“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Perhaps the law suits that will now surely follow will drive home the point that the church cannot be immune from prosecution. Although I have no doubt the men in funny hats and dresses from Rome will insist that local parishes pay for their crimes, my sincere hope is that those who belong to local parishes will finally stop donating any money at all in any way to these criminals in Rome.


  1. The Jan. 31, 1997 letter was written to the Irish bishops by the Vatican’s then-representative to Ireland, the late Archbishop Luciano Storero. In it, he expressed the Vatican’s concerns that legal requirements that bishops report priests accused of abuse to police might cause conflicts with Church law.

    Contrary to news reports, the Vatican’s concern was not to shield priests from punishment. Rather the Vatican wanted to ensure that Irish Church officials followed Church law in reporting accused priests — in order to avoid having their decisions overturned on technicalities by Vatican officials.

    Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, noted that despite allegations being made in the media, Archbishop Storeo never suggested that the bishops not cooperate with Irish authorities.

    “The letter rightly emphasises the importance of always respecting canonical legislation, precisely in order to ensure that guilty parties do not have justified grounds for an appeal and thus producing a result contrary to the one desired,” he said.

    Please, please, please, look to both sides!

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 21, 2011 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  2. I wonder if Father Federico Lombardi thinks that it is important that Sharia law is always respected above and beyond the laws of the land as well?

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 22, 2011 @ 5:20 am | Reply

  3. Separation of church and state..remember that because that’s what atheists want.

    Comment by 4amzgkids — January 22, 2011 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

  4. The segregation of the church from the state – does not make the church (or any religion) less accountable to the state. This means all religions are treated with the same level of contempt and all religions are answerable to the same rule of law.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — January 23, 2011 @ 2:59 am | Reply

  5. Wow – you really understand nothing of history do you?

    Comment by 4amzgkids — February 2, 2011 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

  6. As the concept is commonly understood today, the government has never passed a law implementing the “separation of church and state.” The First Amendment simply states:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Comment by 4amzgkids — February 2, 2011 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

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