Wednesday, July 07, 2010

German Magazine Says Catholic Church Is Following Conservatives In Reactions To Abuse Cases

Der Spiegel yesterday carried an analysis of the Vatican's recent actions in priest sexual abuse cases. It argues that there is a power struggle in the Vatican between liberal and conservative forces:

This spring, it looked as though the Catholic Church was finally going to confront charges of sexual abuse head on. Following recent police raids in Belgium, however, the Vatican has once again closed ranks....

The conservatives in the church state see the zero-tolerance policy of US bishops as a means of curtailing the rights of accused priests. By contrast, liberal spirits are pushing to rapidly investigate and refer cases to secular authorities. It currently looks as if the conservatives have regained the upper hand....

German bishops Robert Zollitsch and Reinhard Marx were ... given a dressing down. Benedict reproaches them for not being tender enough with their fellow bishop Walter Mixa when he came under fire amid allegations of violence towards children in his care.

The Holy Father has clearly shown how to treat, in the true Christian spirit, those brothers who have strayed from the flock. He announced that, "following a period of healing and reconciliation," Bishop Mixa, like other retired bishops, would again be available for pastoral duties.

Cath News today however reports that Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is about to release a set of changes to the Church's internal rules for disciplining priests that will extend the canon law statute of limitations for bringing charges against an abusive priest from 10 years after the victim's 18th birthday to 20 years after. It will also for the first time define child pornography as a grave offense subject to the Congregation's jurisdiction.