Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Abuses by priests: Facts and Trends

I found this interesting summary of figures and trends of the sex abuses committed by priests, posted by Gerard of The cafeteria is closed.

Definitely not an apologia for abusing priests, but a great defense of our late Pope JPII-the-Great whenever you meet someone who claims that he "let them happened."

4 comments:

J.T. said...

Antonia,

Check out this article .

I first heard the news when I was in the States 2 weeks ago.

Antonia said...

JT,

Yes, the sentence the CDF issued against Fr Maciel caused quite a ripple some weeks ago; some said it is not nearly enough, while Fr Maciel & his defenders compared his meek response to our persecuted Lord.. In fact Cardinal Levada's first sentence in his office against Fr. Gino Burresi, founder of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, seemed to indicate a 'turnaround' in the Vatican's "policy" to be harsher.

As for its implication on JPII's reign, I don't think it's gone as far as Pope BXVI "casting doubt on predecessor's judgement." They have different pastoral styles and different views of looking at the world.

I think one of the most endearing characters (but a critical flaw to some) of our late Pope is his ability to see the good, the best, side of people. His writings always emphasize on 'raising the bar' instead of 'bringing up the bottomline.' He's one (of the few I know) who was able to internalize that the worst has already happened: God has died for us and He's risen; what worse could we fear?

One of the dilemma oft cited is when an offending priest has already confessed his transgressions. What's his confessor to do? In most cases, the priest in question was transferred away from a ministry involving 'temptations.' Some may not think this action suffices, I know some Americans who feel very strongly that any pedophilic- (rather, adolescent-homosexual) abuse is grave enough to earn a lifetime sentence, therefore believe they must be subject to laicization, and under no circumstances be allowed to 'roam' between ministries/parishes to prey in new pastures.

ANYWAY... What the figures Gerard compiled from the USCCB report did show is that JPII's so-called "soft" approach (of merely removing them from temptation and not defrocking every offender) did NOT contribute to an increase in the number of cases! So the argument against JPII is less of he 'did not do enough to curb the spread of evil' than he did not 'do enough to vindicate past sins'.

PS: For those who are not LA Times subscriber, use BugmeNot service to bypass registration to read the article.

J.T. said...

Antonia,

Since we are on the topic, I refer you to an excellent article by Michael O'Brien.

Antonia said...

Grim, but excellent article. I've never been close to any priests, nor have I lived in dioceses where such abuses have taken place. Very grim indeed. Our pope has taken a firm step banning practicing homosexuals from the seminaries. As laity, I can offer prayers for the Church's purification and for these hirelings' victims. Miserere nobis.