November 24, 2005

Canon law system is compromised

One in Four

The church shelters child molesters and accused child molesters, writes Jason Berry

The Ferns report raises a question: should the Vatican enjoy the exemptions of international law in its handling of clergy sex offenders? Would diplomatic correspondence between the papal nuncios in Dublin and their Vatican superiors shed light on possibly illegal strategies? Such questions have relevance in light of the church's canon law system.

It can penalise priests who abuse, yet is hopelessly compromised.

Consider Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State. This autumn Cardinal Sodano invited Fr Marcial Maciel - who faces 20 allegations of paedophilia - to a prestigious religious conference at Lucca in Italy.

The cardinal has a history of helping the disgraced Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a religious congregation with a house of studies at Leopardstown in Dublin. Cardinal Sodano pressured Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to halt a 1998 canon law case seeking Fr Maciel's excommunication. It was initiated by eight former legionaries at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Posted by kshaw at November 24, 2005 10:22 AM