With No Enforcement, Vatican Recommendations Fall Short

“Vatican Suggests Bishops Report Abuse,” published May 16, 2011 by Associated Press on FoxNews.com

“But the suggestions in the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are vague and nonbinding and contain no enforcement mechanisms to ensure bishops actually draft the guidelines or follow them.”

9 thoughts on “With No Enforcement, Vatican Recommendations Fall Short

  1. It appears that the hierarchy are unable to come to grips with the seriousness of the crime of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults. It further appears that the priesthood as it exists today is unable to support the protection of children in the RCC. Perhaps it is with us, the Faithful that the responsibility rests.

    What is the possibility of a parish or group of parishes bringing suit against their local bishop? In this suit, the parishoners might demand a married clergy! They might demand a clergy who have a proven record of successful interaction with minors. Perhaps they might demand a female clergy person.

    AND, until their demands are met, there will be no funds sent to the diocese, and there will be no bishop-chosen clergy in the parish. Further, the people of the parish in the persons of ordained deacons, eucharistic ministers and other respected members of the parish will perform the rituals of the Church…AND, all of the people present in the church attending Mass would recite the Gospel in unison. A respected member of the parish will give the homily. While there would be no consecration at Mass, there could still be communion based on hosts previously consecrated.

    It seems to me that this could work. Are there any parishes out there that are fed up enough to take actions such as these. If not today, perhaps soon…

    1. Elizabeth T. Great suggestions. I would add on extra dimension. We can break bread and share the cup in our homes as a sign of our communion. Where two or more are together there I am.

      That’s a bold step in today’s church but not uncommon in the early church. We might get to the early experience once again.

  2. Why would any Vatican office release a statement this lame?

    There is such anger and disgust over this issue that the words, “the Vatican suggests” are insulting.

    How long will this go on…

  3. Due to my chosen career, I am often working while others are celebrating our biggest holydays and holidays with their families, thus I am not always available to stand in protest outside of the “palace on the parkway” during the most-attended masses. But I am off from work tonight.

    I read on the Philadelphia Archdiocese website that tonight (Tuesday, May 17, 2011) will be the 32nd Annual Academic Honors Convocation at the cathedral. Justin Rigali will celebrate a special Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul to honor Archdiocesan and private Catholic high school seniors for their academic excellence at 6:30 PM.

    I feel afraid, BUT I will be there this evening with my protest sign outside the main entrance on 18th Street. Please pray for me. And maybe one other person will join me to offer words of encouragement (and watch my back)?

  4. Laura, thank you for your prayers. Let me answer your question of “How did it go?” by enclosing here an email that I sent to Sr. Maureen on May 18, 2011.

    Sr. Maureen,

    Thank you for your response. I have more questions, but first the details: the 32nd Annual Academic Honors Convocation was held at the cathedral on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Justin Rigali celebrated a special Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul to honor Archdiocesan and private Catholic high school seniors for their academic excellence at 6:30 PM. Unable to attend the May 6th VOTF vigil in front of 222, I felt that I would do my part by protesting at the Convocation. At the suggestion of my wife I took a folding beach chair along with my sign and sat by the main entrance from 6:00 PM until 8:25 PM. I was pleasantly surprised at the large attendance inside.

    My sign reads: “It is not the “archdiocese” nor the “church” that I DO NOT TRUST. It is a man called JUSTIN RIGALI who walks in the footsteps of JUDAS. He has betrayed our children for THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER.”

    As I sat my ground, the worst I heard was from a mother who said “I sure don’t appreciate this” in an angry voice. The best I heard was when a nun approached me and placed her hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eyes with her brilliant blue eyes and said “thank you”.

    So now my questions: did your heart pound with fear the first time you stood up to the heirarchy? The chair my wife suggested was a great idea, as I could sit with a book in my lap and no one could see how my hands trembled. Did you ever experience this? The best way I could describe it is to say that I felt fear that I would be attacked. I was not concerned of a verbal attack, and had prayed to accept without retaliation should I be spit upon. My fear was that I would be physically attacked by a parishoner. I don’t know why I have this fear, and nothing of the sort happened this past evening at the “palace on the parkway”. But , does this fear ever go away?

    And how does God work? As I sat my ground, two empty school buses pulled alongside the entrance and slowly filled with school students. By 8:25 PM the departing attendees had slowed to an occaisonal straggler, the evening was growing dark, and with only 15 minutes left on my parking permit, I determined that it was time to head to my automobile. As I placed my chair and sign in the car I glanced back at the cathedral and it appeared that the floodgates were opened. I suspected that the greatest number of attendees had been intentionally kept inside until I had departed. Resisting the urge to grab my sign and run back to my position on the sidewalk, I prayed to accept that if God had intended for someone to see the protest sign, that person already did and there was no need for me to run back. I also prayed to let God’s will be done, and to keep my ego (self-will) deflated. As I drove home the fear subsided and I felt at peace. Have you had similiar experiences?

    Buddy Schmidt

  5. Buddy:

    The description of your experience last night was compelling. I have not yet been able to be part of a protest or vigil and I expect to go through the same emotions when I attend my first vigil.

    The event was to recognize Honor Students throughout the diocese and it reminds me of a conversation I had a couple of years ago. I voiced my concern with the President of Cardinal Dougherty, Fr. Carl Janicki as my alma mater was preparing to induct William Sasso, long-term counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, into the C.D. “Hall of Fame”. When I told Fr. Janicki that the reasons for my disapproval of Mr. Sasso’s induction had to do with the First Grand Jury Report and the archdiocese’s official statement in response to such evil and criminal conduct, he told me that Mr. Sasso was a “Papal Knight.” Unimpressed by this honor, I asked Fr. Janicki if he had read the Grand Jury Report and he told me he had, but that it “represented only one side of the story.” Of course, I advised him that there are thousands of Philadelphia-area Catholics who are quite interested to hear and learn of the “other side” of the story regarding clergy sexual abuse.

    Buddy, the link to your experience is that I told Fr. Janicki that high-school students are very perceptive and mature these days and can see right through the lame excuses, bogus explanations and artificial procedures that the archdiocese has promoted to protect the children in the future. His CD students could see the hypocrisy, deceit and selfishness of archdiocesan management and you can be sure that a majority of the honor students being recognized last night at the Basilica felt just the same way. Here is their spiritual leader honoring them for being bright, articulate, mature and faithful to their Catholic education; does Cardinal Rigali really believe that these church “leaders of the future” have read and understood the facts, details and evidence of the three Grand Jury Reports in the same distorted, twisted manner that archdiocesan leadership has?

    Hollywood could not write this script; only Satan could be responsible for such evil.

    Okay, I admit, maybe I would have been impressed if Fr. Janicki had told me that, instead of a “Papal Knight”, Mr. Sasso had been one of the pips with “Gladys Knight.”

  6. I applaud the integrity that you are showing in this matter. The day of the tenet I was taught in catechism class — that we are not to repeat what we may hear about ‘sinful priests’ because it will bring scandal down on the Chruch — is inconsistent with our responsibilities as parents and teachers, and members of a just and ethical society.

    The cover-up only makes it easier for sinful priests to prey on more victims.

    And young lives turn away from the religion which has betrayed them.

    – an ex-Catholic

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