Sex Crimes Cover-up by Vatican?
"For decades, priests
in this country abused children in parish after parish while their superiors
covered it all up. Now it turns out the orders for this cover up were written
in Rome at the highest levels of the Vatican."
-- CBS, 8/6/03
happen at almost all levels and segments of our society. Sexual abuse is one
of the secrets guarded most closely, even by some of our religious institutions.
The CBS article below is somewhat shocking, yet I invite us not forget that
each of us has, at some point, engaged in some form of cover-ups in our own
personal lives. When all of us make a commitment to greater transparency
and to not cover up activities which clearly cause harm to others, we are playing
an important part in building
a brighter future. Thanks for caring, and let us join together in doing
our best to work for the good of all.
With best wishes,
Fred Burks for WantToKnow.info
Crimes Cover-Up By Vatican?
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 6, 2003
decades, priests in this country abused children in parish after parish while
their superiors covered it all up. Now it turns out the orders for this cover
up were written in Rome at the highest levels of the Vatican.
CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales has uncovered a church document kept
secret for 40 years.
Vatican document, obtained by CBS News, lays out a church policy that calls
for absolute secrecy when it comes to sexual abuse by priests - anyone who speaks
out could be thrown out of the church.
was written in 1962 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani.
The document, once "stored in the secret archives" of the Vatican,
focuses on crimes initiated as part of the confessional relationship and what
it calls the "worst crime": sexual assault committed by a priest"
or "attempted by him with youths of either sex or with brute animals."
instructed to pursue these cases "in the most secretive way...restrained
by a perpetual silence...and everyone (including the alleged victim) ...is to
observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the
Holy Office...under the penalty of excommunication."
Larry Drivon, a lawyer who represents alleged victims, said, "This document
is significant because it's a blueprint for deception."
Drivon said this proves what he has alleged on behalf of victims in priest-abuse
lawsuits: that the church engaged in a crime – racketeering.
instruction manual on how to deceive and how to protect pedophiles," Drivon
said. "And exactly how to avoid the truth coming out."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the document is being taken out
of context, that it's a church law that deals only with religious crimes and
sins. And that the secrecy is meant to protect the faithful from scandal.
"The idea that this is some sort of blueprint to keep this secret is simply
wrong," said Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, a spokesman for the Conference.
"This is a system of law which is complete in itself and is not telling the
bishops in any way about how to handle these crimes when they are considered
as civil crimes," Maniscalco said.
But Richard Sipe, a former priest who has written about sex abuse and secrecy
in the church, said the document sends a chilling message.
"This is the code for how you must deal with sex by priests. You keep it secret
at all costs," Sipe said. "And that's what's happened. It's happened in every
diocese in this country."
to church records, the document was a bedrock of Catholic sex abuse policy until
America's bishops met last summer and drafted new policies to address the crisis
in the church.
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