Calgary Herald - Canada May 19, 2011
Editorial: Bypass the bishops
The only acceptable reform the Vatican could have offered regarding cases of child abuse by pedophile priests was a mandate to call the police. Instead, the disappointing new “reforms” simply leave the matter of reporting abuse in the hands of bishops — where it doesn’t belong.
Doctors, social workers, teachers and ordinary citizens have a legal obligation to phone the police if they suspect a case of child abuse is occurring. The Roman Catholic Church should not consider itself exempt from this obligation.
When it comes to a crime as grave as child abuse, no organization should make self-policing its primary line of defence. To do so is to invite the danger of coverups, and after the thousands of cases of child sex abuse in which the pedophile priest perpetrators were protected by bishops and others in the church hierarchy, one would think the Vatican would hasten to distance itself from the potential for further secrecy in the matter.
Sadly, it seems as though this is a lesson that has gone unlearned.
The Vatican calls the so-called reforms “an important new step” in the fight against child abuse by priests. It is nothing of the kind. The Vatican is still standing on the same step it’s been on for years; it has not put a foot forward to real reform.
The solution is simple: Bypass the bishop and go straight to the police.
This article was found at:
Prevention is first defence against child abuse, says bishop
By Bishop Fred Henry, Calgary
Re: "Bypass the bishops," Editorial, May 20.
Your editorial has done all of us a disservice and fails to acknowledge initiatives taken to strengthen our parish communities.
First, the Roman Catholic Church does not consider itself exempt from the obligation to report a case of child abuse to the police in accordance with the Alberta Child Welfare Act.
Second, self-policing is not our primary line of defence, but a good case can be made that prevention is.
Third, we are also committed to transparency and have a Model Code of Pastoral Conduct and Sexual Misconduct Abuse Protocol posted on our diocesan website.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary is committed to complying with the obligations of canon, civil and criminal law as well as informing complainants, the families and the accused of their civil and legal rights.
The diocese will also always act in accordance with the laws of Canada and Alberta.
Section 3.3 of our Diocese Sexual Misconduct Protocol deals explicitly with allegations of abuse of children:
Furthermore, any clergyman or employee or volunteer of the diocese who suspects that a child may be in need of protection, as defined under applicable territorial or provincial laws, must report this suspicion to the appropriate authorities.
If the alleged abuser is a member of the diocese or an employee or volunteer of the diocese, then the misconduct committee chair must also be advised of the allegations.
Any clergyman, employee or volunteer of the diocese who is accused of abuse of a child must notify the misconduct committee chair immediately and should consult with independent legal counsel.
The bishop shall immediately remove anyone accused of child abuse from contact with children or other vulnerable persons and, if the accused is a clergyman or an employee of the diocese, place him or her on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of any investigation by police or child protection workers.
Bishop Fred Henry, Calgary
This article was found at:
US bishop's report on clergy abuse puts focus on sociological factors instead of church leaders who covered up crimes
New Vatican rules rely on Bishops to deal with clergy crimes before reporting to police, still don't protect children
Philadelphia cardinal and bishops hid problem priests from clergy abuse review board, put church law before civil law
Credibility of US bishops' reformed child protection policies challenged by Philadelphia clergy abuse scandal
Inquiry finds US Catholic hierarchy still endangering children and fighting justice for clergy abuse survivors
Washington archbishop claims Catholic clergy abuse is all historic, abusive priests now dealt with appropriately, but church still fights victims
Catholic theologian says secrecy, misogyny and resistance to reform in wake of clergy sex scandals will doom the church
Retired Archbishop blames protective church hierarchy for clergy abuse scandal
Australian Archbishop says church culture responsible for deep-rooted child abuse crimes and cover-ups
Former Benedictine monk says church has not yet addressed child abuse crisis, most bishops still mired in obfuscation and deceit
Is the Catholic church in state of denial over clergy abuse, or is it honest and transparent?
Hundreds of admitted or credibly accused pedophile priests who escaped justice are unsupervised by church or police
Dublin Archbishop admits frustration over failed effort to promote major reforms in Catholic Church
Leaked confidential letter reveals Vatican's intention to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities
Of course popes, cardinals and bishops covered up crimes against children, but can the Church be reformed while leaders are in denial?
Catholic diocese bankruptcies protect assets from abuse survivors but provide no relief for moral bankruptcy of church leaders
Milwaukee archbishop blames bankruptcy on individual pedophile priests, ignores systemic coverup by church leaders
Pope's 2010 Christmas message reveals broken moral compass, again fails to adequately address clergy abuse and cover-up
New rules on clergy sex abuse shows there is still no moral awakening in the Catholic church
If the Pope is infallibly moral why did he enable and cover-up the systematic rape of children across the globe?
Boston Globe reporters who exposed widespread sex crimes scandal which led to current Catholic crisis say far more yet to come
Current wave of global Catholic scandals just tip of iceberg says Quebec advocate who predicts many more to come
As Vatican cardinal defends pope and church, African bishop says sex crimes of priests there not yet exposed
Crisis of moral authority and credibility for Belgian Catholic church after decades of clergy abuse that destroyed lives
Investigation uncovers Catholic practice of "geographic cure", shuffling pedophile priests around the globe
Priest Accused Of Abuse Moved From Parish To Parish
Lawsuit against L.A. and Mexico City Cardinals claims they moved known pedophile priest between dioceses
San Diego diocese documents released, more evidence of Catholic leaders moving pedophile priests from parish to parish
Bishops were warned of abusive priests as early as the mid-1950s
1963 letter by church expert on pedophile priests shows Pope Paul VI and Vatican officials ignored warnings to expel problem priests