Skip to comments.Pope says no place for paedophiles in Church
Posted on 04/24/2002 2:45:14 AM PDT by history_matters
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul (news - web sites), formulating his own zero tolerance policy on child abuse by priests, told American Catholic leaders on Tuesday that paedophilia was a crime that had no place in the Church.
Addressing a crisis meeting of top U.S. churchmen and Vatican (news - web sites) officials, he also offered comfort to victims of paedophile priests and said he hoped the scandal that has rocked the United States would lead to "a holier priesthood".
"The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society: it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God," he said.
The Pope's powerful, clear words may determine whether the U.S. church formulates policy to expel paedophiles from the priesthood and hand them over to civil authorities.
The U.S. Roman Catholic Church has been shaken by revelations that bishops transferred priests known to have molested children from parish to parish instead of defrocking them.
Participants said they did not discussion the possible resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, who is at the heart of the scandal.
The Pope, who said he was "deeply grieved" by the scandal, said paedophiles could not be allowed to hide in the priesthood.
"People need to know that there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young," he told the meeting, which one of the 24 participants called "very serious, even sombre".
Officials said before the meetings they would seek Vatican guidance on whether paedophile priests can stay in the ministry or if a "one strike and you're out" rule should be applied.
Asked if the Pope was calling for such a rule, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia said: "We have to study that passage. That's one way it can be read."
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles said: "(The Pope) is being as clear as he can be. There is no place for abusers in the priesthood, whatsoever. You can convert hearts and offer reconciliation but you can't reassign them (paedophile priests)."
Churchmen in the United States will next June formulate policy on the dismissal of priests who have abused children.
Cardinal Adam Joseph Maida of Detroit said he wanted strict action and welcomed the Pope's words.
"I would prefer we come clean. We need to root out the kind of priest or other people who would take advantage of our young children," he told CNN.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick made a five-point proposal for a national policy on paedophilia in his address to the meeting at the afternoon session.
They were: reaching out to victims; removing a paedophile priest from office while an investigation goes on; informing civil authorities; sending the priest to a therapeutic centre for evaluation; diocesan review boards made up of lay people as well as clergy.
While the Pope has apologised to victims of past paedophile scandals he did not use the word in his address on Tuesday.
"To the victims and their families, wherever they may be, I express my profound sense of solidarity and concern," he said.
In the United States, victims and their lawyers said priests responsible for these sex crimes must be held accountable, as well as Catholic leaders who moved paedophile priests from one parish to another rather than turn them in to the authorities.
"You can't have the cardinals simply dealing with themselves on this issue, it's like asking the fox what's going on in the hen house," Robert Sherman, a lawyer for alleged abuse victims, told CNN.
NO CHANGE IN CELIBACY
The Pope also appeared to attempt to cut short any possible talk of changes in the church's rule of priestly celibacy, which some have said might be open for discussion during the meetings.
Roman Catholics "must know that bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality".
But he said the crisis went beyond paedophilia.
"The abuse of the young is a grave symptom of a crisis affecting not only the Church but society as a whole. It is a deep-seated crisis of sexual morality," he said.
He also said the recent scandals should not stain the entire U.S. church and asked American Roman Catholics to support their bishops and priests in a time of unprecedented crisis.
"A great work of art may be blemished, but its beauty remains," the Pope said.
The Pope said he hoped the crisis would lead to "a purification of the entire Catholic community", adding that "so much pain, so much sorrow, must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier Church."
2. Cast out all those who have harbored and protected them. Do both of these immediately!
I went to a "listening session" at my church last night. One of the priests got up to speak, he has been a priest for 55 years. He said one of the evils that we will always suffer due to the actions of a few sick priests is that the trust between the priests and the children is no longer there. He used to play baseball with the boys and take children for ice cream in his younger days and it was a great pleasure for him to do that. He broke down during speaking - and quite a few of us did as well. I remember those days as well - we had a family friend who was a missionary priest and he used to visit my family and take my brother and sister and I all kinds of places, we always had a lot of fun and got to see a different side of priests - it is a tragedy that kids today will not experience those things.
Pray for the victims!
You have nailed down the interesting part of the Pope's message. If he thinks it's a crime (which it is...he's right), then does this mean he FAVORS all records on these things being turned over to civil authorities.
Were I a District Attorney, I'd be using the CHURCH'S HIGHEST LEADER'S COMMENTS to force the turnover of records.
What stops the civil authorities from doing something about child molesting priests if the parents went directly to the police in the first place?
Civil authorities are also guilty of not placing pedophiles in prison but allowing them to commit their crimes and then live in neighborhoods where children are. Especially those preying on teenagers, some act like 14 or 16 year olds can give consent.
The problem is both ---I don't think there should be a lowering of age of consent for children. Any adult preying on a child under 18 should be sent to prison ---heterosexual or homosexual. A lot of what has gone on with these priests is exactly like the case of Michael Jackson who molested a teenaged boy and he's not in prison for it ---I question why the parents seem willing to take bribes to stay quiet and didn't prosecute these men.
This is much bigger than Pedophilia and much more pernicious.
The following is from "Sex, Priests and power" by A.W. Richard Sipe,page 132
"A 1980 study of 50 gay Priests by a Roman Catholic priest was startling, and it remains so (Wagner, 1980). Only 4% of that group were sexually abstinent; the other 90% had abandoned the celebate process.The priests in the study ranged in age from 27 to 58.
They averaged 226.8 sexual partners each."Of some note is the fact that nine respondents (18 percent) in this sample had no more than ten partners total, while (22 percent)reported five hundred or more.
The frightening part of this mess is that some bishops are still talking about rehabilitation of perverted priests and keeping them in the ministry."
The only answer I can think of is they must be out of their minds. Or they are all fags and subject to Blackmail.
It is Church Bashing by Homosexual Priests and the Bishops won't say it's a Homosexual problem since they would have to admit that maybe 50% of the current priesthood is comprised of Homosexuals. Plus a number of the Hierarchy.
So much for Celebacy.
I went to a "listening session" at my church last night. One of the priests got up to speak, he has been a priest for 55 years. He said one of the evils that we will always suffer due to the actions of a few sick priests is that the trust between the priests and the children is no longer there. He used to play baseball with the boys and take children for ice cream in his younger days and it was a great pleasure for him to do that. He broke down during speaking - and quite a few of us did as well. I remember those days as well - we had a family friend who was a missionary priest and he used to visit my family and take my brother and sister and I all kinds of places, we always had a lot of fun and got to see a different side of priests - it is a tragedy that kids today will not experience those things.My heart melts in grief reading this. I am praying for the priest you mentioned. God love him.
Pray for the victims!
Yes, pray for the victims, and pray for the good and holy priests whose cross has become so much heavier because of the evil actions of other priests and bishops.
Fitz, we need to bring you up to speed on who pedophiles prey on, and it's not teenagers. Pedos go for pre-pubescents. Once puberty hits, they aren't interested. This is pretty much by definition. You won't find any pedophiles going after 14-16-year-olds. At that age, to a pedo's thinking, they're biological adults. While teens 14 to 16 years old cannot legally give consent, they are not the targets of pedos; rather, teens are targeted by ephebophiles, those who demonstrate a pathological attraction to post-pubescent youths.
The pedo wants his victims completely devoid of any sense of sexual self-awareness. The ephebe wants the opposite - sexually sentient, but just underage.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.