Story takes critical look at Pope's early role in abuse crisis
By William Wan
Talk in the Catholic world today will no doubt focus on a New York Times story published this morning that takes a critical look at whether Pope Benedict took priest sex abuse cases seriously enough as a high-ranking cardinal who may have had the power to intervene in some of the cases.
The story is largely looks at evidence that the pope, then still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, could have acted quicker and done more during the run-up to the 2002 abuse scandal in the United States. But one of the key highlights within the story is that bishops from English-speaking nations wanted more local authority to deal with sex abuse cases and pressed so hard that the Vatican held a secret meeting in 2000 to hear their complaints and arguments for reform.
The other main thrust in the story is that even before 2001, when the office headed by Ratzinger was given sweeping authority over abuse cases, it may have had the power to do something because of to papal instructions issued in 1922. But according to the article, "during this period the three dozen staff members working for Cardinal Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were busy pursuing other problems" like investigating supernatural phenomenons and the spread of liberation theology in Latin America.
So far, the story's prompted a statement from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
"Who knows how many other secret meetings about clergy sex crimes and cover ups, large and small, have been held involving bishops across the planet and officials in Rome. These revelations will likely help the legal moves to hold the Pope and his staff responsible for the sexual violations of children by predatory priests, nuns, bishops, brothers and seminarians."
More reactions from those supportive and critical of the Vatican sure to emerge as the day marches on.
William Wan| July 2, 2010; 6:29 AM ET | Category: God in Government Save & Share:
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