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Pope Watch: Vatican May Issue Formal Apology for Abuse Scandal in June

In his recent interview with PBS Newshour, Cardinal William Levada indicated that Pope Benedict will be issuing a formal apology to clergy abuse victims in June, at the end of his — unfortunately timed, given the global pedophilia revelations — “year of the priest.”

Levada himself has been criticized for how he handled clergy abuse cases, back when he was Archbishop of Portland (which had to file for bankruptcy due to the lawsuits) and then Archbishop of San Francisco. He now heads the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithful, Benedict’s position when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. 


For more on this story, check out Ruth Gledhill’s column in The Times of London.

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posted April 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm

A couple decades late and insincere, but a start, I suppose. The apologies of these bishops would have a better ring of truth if they came at a sentencing hearing…

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posted April 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm

The key word in the headline is “may” issue an apology. IF he actually does, I hope it is followed by actions…getting the priests tried (those still alive, of course)in civilian courts and the bishops that continued to send those priests for “treatment” punished too…in civilian courts.

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Gabriel Wilensky

posted April 29, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Apologizing is not enough. It’s important the Catholic Church apologizes for sexually abusing children, and they also apologize for covering it up and not punishing pederast priests, but that is just one step toward the solution. To show that the Catholic Church is ready, willing and able to rid itself of the pedophilia problem once and for all, and to ensure it does not happen again, it needs to take draconian measures. Starting now, the Church should:
1. Make a world-wide call to Catholics that were allegedly molested by priests to come forward
2. Within the next month, look at all cases of accused priests still alive
3. Defrock the priests
4. Hand them over with all available evidence and/or testimonials to the civil authorities for prosecution
5. Alert the victims and the press of all of the above
If the priest is found to have been innocent after all, then the Church should issue an apology to him, reinstate him in the Church if he so wishes, and give him a free vacation in the Vatican. If he is found to have been guilty, then the Church should make very loud public statements of repudiation.
This will be a huge embarrassment to the Church in the immediate future, but will have the dual effect of restoring its moral standing in the long run, and will make any present and future cases of sexual child abuse disappear.
Gabriel Wilensky
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posted April 30, 2010 at 2:56 am

I do not think civilian courts are interested in this. There are far more important practical and immediate issues to deal with. Prisons are overcrowded and sex offenders are being released early.
There is simply no interest in indicting, much less trying 70+ year old men who may have been accused decades ago, and far less inteest in any 75+ year old bishop with no record who may or may not have know about the situation and did not report it.
Only a minority of accused sexual offenders are tried, and these are only the worst recent cases where there is good collaborating evidence. Otherwise up to 8-10% of the adult population could go to prison, which is impossible and is not going to happen in a free, liberal society.
Sometimes you just have to get real about all this stuff about the civil courts.

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robert c

posted April 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm

On point there good guy. In many circumstances the civil authorities ( who mostly have been involved from the get go ) have declined to prosecute many cases. Somewhat different from the plantiffs attorneys, a small cabal of serial litigators in collusion who have gotten ridiculously rich of the issue. As to the suggestions above, nice if we were a country where the law determined that you were guilty until proven innocent. Thankfully, it is the other way around.

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