Pope Francis exhorts Bishops to prevent child abuse. Wants to let curia handle molestation cases again. Attempts to reverse 2001 reforms raises eyebrows.

Prevent child abuse: Pope Francis.

PICS Courtesy: Wikipedia and freeimages.com

PICS Courtesy: Wikipedia and freeimages.com

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The problem of child abuse has been an age-old concern of the leaders of the Church and the communities. This subject has been the subject of much deliberations and the effort to safeguard innocent children broached several times.

The scandals that rocked the church several times did bring in legislation to prevent such occurrences. While on the one hand Pope Francis speaks about protecting the children from the clergy, on the other he is undoing the good work done by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Prior to 2001, the procedure to handle cases of child molesters differed. The Congregation of the Clergy and the Roman Rota (the Vatican’s Court) used to deal with them. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith took on this responsibility resulting in speedier and effective dispensation of justice.

More priests lost their frocks in the cases of child abuse showing a marked improvement. But, there seems to be a move to revert back to the old practice which comes as a surprise to many. The Curia not only wants the action to be more lenient, they want the old system restored.

In a surreptitious manner, the Pope has been holding consultations on whether to revert back to the old system. CDF has performed creditably and the broaching of the subject raises eyebrows.

An appeal originated from the Pope to the Catholic Bishops to ensure that children do not suffer sexual abuse. It is quite a traumatic and painful experience for the victims, he said.

Other topics covered in the December 28 directive included:
1. Lack of education,
2. Malnutrition,
3. Child labor, and
4. Sexual abuse, particularly by Priests.

He felt shamed by this particular sin because the clergy destroyed the dignity of the very persons they should protect. More and more people are volunteering information about past incidents of abuse as minors.

Many parish priests were rapists and child molesters throughout the Catholic world. The responsibility of the Bishops and Cardinals is important because they sometimes cover up the incidents of a sexual nature.
The church had to face multimillion dollar lawsuits on this score, the pontiff said.

As such, he expressed the regret of the church while seeking forgiveness for the sins of the clergy.

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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
Wednesday, 04 January 2017