The New York Times wrongly reported that the Vatican has “revised” its procedures for dealing with reports of abuse. What the Vatican has done is all show; they’ve only codified their longstanding unwritten policies, which are limp-wristed and cowardly equivocal in their legalism.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the changes showed the church’s commitment to tackling child sexual abuse with “rigor and transparency.”Those measures fell short of the hopes of many advocates for victims of priestly abuse, who dismissed them as “tweaking” rather than a bold overhaul. The new rules do not, for example, hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch, nor do they require them to report sexual abuse to civil authorities — though less formal “guidelines” issued earlier this year encourage reporting if local law compels it.
If and only if local law compels it–in which case the Vatican shows total contempt for the policy. The chief Vatican prosecuter Charles Scicluna described laws requiring those with knowledge of a committed rape to report the crime as “onerous.” Onerous, to mandate the barest decency towards violated children, onerous to hold clergy to the rule of law.
But the seriousness of the document’s authors comes even deeper into question when one sees they cannot help but take swipes at two tennents of the modern, liberal societies they see themselves victimized by: gender equality and philosophical pluralism:
But what astonished many Catholics was the inclusion of the attempt to ordain women in a list of the “more grave delicts,” or offenses, which included pedophilia, as well as heresy, apostasy and schism. The issue, some critics said, was less the ordination of women, which is not discussed seriously inside the church hierarchy, but the Vatican’s suggestion that pedophilia is a comparable crime in a document billed a response to the sexual abuse crisis.
Jen McCreight fumes:
[H]eresy and apostasy are also lumped with pedophilia. Anyone who has spoken out against Catholicism? All you former Catholics? Same level as child molesters. Congratulations.