January 03, 2005

Cleveland Diocese awaits Vatican ruling

Beacon Journal

By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal religion writer

During the past two years, 20 priests have been on paid leave in Cleveland's Catholic Diocese, local figures in a national scandal over how the church responds to allegations of priest abuse.

To date, 17 are still waiting to hear whether they will be allowed to serve as priests again.

For the majority of them, that decision rests with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a department of the Vatican in Rome.

The Rev. Lawrence Jurcak, diocesan secretary and vicar for clergy and religious, says Cleveland Bishop Anthony M. Pilla cannot make an official determination on any of the cases until a response comes from Rome.

The congregation, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has several options when deciding on each case: laicization, or defrocking, from the priesthood; a canonical, or church, trial in Cleveland or in Rome; or an administrative penal process in Cleveland.

According to the Vatican Web site, the congregation's duty is ``to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: For this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence.''

Posted by kshaw at January 3, 2005 07:58 AM