Vatican’s response to Cloyne Report: CTS author comments

Rome has released a document detailing its observations on the Cloyne report into clerical sexual abuse. As the author of The Catholic Church and the sex abuse crisis Dr Pravin Thevathasan explains, it clarifies some points and raises some questions about recent comments by the Irish Prime Minister.

“The Vatican response to the Cloyne Report is both balanced and sensitive. There is no attempt to play down the crime of sexual abuse. Among its conclusions, it notes that when Irish Prime Minister Edna Kenny claimed that the then-Cardinal Ratzinger had said ‘standards of conduct appropriate to civil society…cannot be applied… to the Church,’ Cardinal Ratzinger was most certainly not alluding to the crime of sexual abuse. The quote comes from the instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian and it quite simply means that revealed truths cannot be arrived at by means of democratic consensus. For example, the Pope is not obliged to condemn Humanae Vitae even if the majority of Catholics choose to ignore it. One cannot help but reach a view that Kenny’s outburst was not after all based on righteous anger.

The Vatican response makes it clear that the reason why formal recognition was not granted to the 1996 policies of the Irish bishops was because the bishops did not ask for it. It also notes that in Cloyne there was a failure to apply Church policy and to follow canon law. The response also says that the now famous letter of Archbishop Storeo in no way attempted to protect predator priests. The Church does not see canon law as replacing or superseding civil or criminal law.”

The Catholic Church and the sex abuse crisis is available from the CTS priced £2.50

Of related interest:

Norms Concerning the Most Serious Crimes – The Norms of Canon Law dealing with crimes of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy have been published here in a comprehensive and updated form, in a document.
Safeguarding with Confidence – The Cumberlege Commission believes that much progress has been made since Lord Nolan reported, and that the Church is now a safer place; however, it states that there remains room for improvement, and this report makes a number of recommendations
Priest, Minister of Divine Mercy – This document from the Congregation for the Clergy is a call to rediscover the indispensible value of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and of Spiritual direction, as the vital tools needed for all Christians to answer the call to holiness.

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