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VATICAN REVISION FALLS FAR SHORT OF REAL REFORM
July 15, 2010-Boston – Voice of the Faithful is disappointed that the Vatican’s first significant revision of church law since the sex abuse crisis began, announced today in Rome, takes only the minimum necessary steps toward addressing the crisis.
“In light of the crisis facing our Church, these changes are timid, and mean little unless accompanied by action,” said VOTF President Dan Bartley. “Even the Vatican’s internal prosecutor, Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, acknowledges that the new rules alone accomplish nothing. The church’s statute of limitations should be eliminated totally for sex abuse of children. There should also be a zero tolerance with any matters related to clergy abuse, as provided in the American Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Asserting that bishops are now subject to the Congregation’s authority is a sign of progress only if the Congregation actually has the courage to call cardinals and bishops to resign.”
The changes announced by the Vatican today double the statute of limitations to 20 years from the alleged victims’ 18th birthday, but do not mandate reporting of abuse to civil authorities. In fact, the new Vatican rules are less stringent in disciplining abusive clergy than the American bishops’ 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Beyond the issue of revisions, Voice of the Faithful finds it inconceivable that in the same announcement the Vatican effectively ranks participation in the “attempted” ordination of women as a crime comparable to child rape.
“We have seen a faithful and holy Maryknoll priest excommunicated for preaching a homily at an ordination ceremony,” said Bartley, “while a Belgian bishop who molested his nephew for eight years incurs no such penalty, and was actually shielded and protected by his archbishop for years. Where is the justice here?”