A series of allegations, investigations, trials and convictions of child abuse crimes committed by Catholic priests, nuns and member of Roman Catholic orders against children began coming to light a decade ago where a majority of the victims came from Western countries. It has been an issue that stirred the Catholic community and recently, even the United Nations had taken a stand.
Over a week ago, UN denounced the Vatican for failing to stamp out child abuse and allowing systematic cover-ups, requiring the Church to immediately remove clergy suspected of raping and molesting children. The Vatican, however, denied responsibility claiming that it cannot be held legally competent over the abuses carried out by the churchmen because they are subject to national laws. The Vatican also accused the UN of interfering with church teachings on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom. But how does the UN obstruct the Holy See when its goal is centred on looking out for the victims and holding the perpetrators accountable for their unjust actions?
It is quite unsettling to think that the Vatican wishes to distance itself from this matter when in fact the pope has complete authority and decision to excommunicate anyone found guilty of the crime as the canon law clearly states that “The vicar of Christ. . .possesses full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely (Can. 331).” The Vatican argues that any abuses of children carried out by Catholic churchmen are subject to national laws and does not regard the competence of the Holy See. It would be beneficial if, however, the Vatican can be hold accountable of its priests’ indecent behaviour rather than washing its hands clean.
Also, based on the news article, under the “code of silence” imposed on clergy with the threat of excommunication cases of abuse where hardly ever reported to national law enforcement authorities. How unnerving to think that the way the Church deals with situation like this is kept under wraps to avoid drawing attention and coverage from the media. But things can’t be long hidden.
Behind all these, the Vatican claims that it “reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the right of the child. . .according to the moral and religious values offered by the Catholic doctrine”. If it stands by this statement, why does it deny responsibility for Catholic child abuses? In any way it should be the first one implementing steps to claim justice rather than trying to trump criminal laws and dodge the whole matter altogether.
Personally, things like this taint Christianity and what it really means to abide by its moral obligation if the church leaders try to outsmart it to their own advantage. The Vatican should make a move to expel these abusers and not shield them from social justice. In this ever changing times it is quite apt for the Vatican to revise the laws the claim to stand by and adapt to a much modern take on ancient rules.
Pope Francis has generated revolutionary moves and spurred enormous hope for a new day in the Catholic Church, but on the abuse question he has miles to go. The United Nations appears more appalled by the Catholic crimes committed that if the church does not openly address them, others will and the truth can be pretty ugly.
United Nations watchdog slams Vatican’s child abuse record, Vatican criticizes ‘interference’ (http://bit.ly/1eJvz4Q)