Women priests and sex abuse not equal crimes: Vatican
2010 07 19

By Philip Pullella | Reuters.com


The Vatican on Friday denied accusations that it viewed the ordination of women as priests and the sexual abuse of minors by clerics as equally criminal.

On Thursday, the Vatican issued a document making sweeping revisions to its laws on sexual abuse, extending the period in which charges can be filed against priests in church courts and broadening the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them.

But while it dealt mostly with pedophilia, it also codified the "attempted ordination of a woman" to the priesthood as one of the most serious crimes against Church law.

The inclusion of both issues in the same document caused a stir among some groups around the world, particularly those favoring a female priesthood.

"The Vatican’s decision to list women’s ordination in the same category as pedophiles and rapists is appalling ...," Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference said. She called the decision "mediaeval at best".

But Monsignor Charles Scicluna, an official in the Vatican’s doctrinal department, said there was no attempt to make women’s ordination and pedophilia comparable crimes under canon (Church) law.

"This is not putting everything into one basket," Scicluna, the Vatican’s internal prosecutor for handling sexual abuse cases, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"They are in the same document but this does not put them on the same level or assign them the same gravity," said Scicluna, who helped formulate the revisions.

The document was an attempt to update norms concerning "three sets of canonical crimes that are distinct," and whose jurisdiction is reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal department, he said.

CRIME AGAINST MORALITY

While sexual abuse was a "crime against morality," the attempt to ordain a woman was a "crime against a sacrament," he said, referring to Holy Orders (the priesthood). The revisions also updated crimes against the faith such as heresy.

"This should not be interpreted as considering all these crimes to be equal," he said. "They are crimes of a different nature".

The Catholic Church teaches that it cannot ordain women as priests because Christ chose only men as his apostles. Proponents of a female priesthood reject this, saying he was only acting according to the norms of his times.

Some dissenters saw the placing of the two in one document as an attempt by the Vatican to respond to criticism by those who say the cause of at least some sexual abuse can be found in the Church’s insistence on a male, celibate priesthood.

"Sexuality is so denied in our Church," said Christian Weisner, a spokesman for the "We Are Church" liberal Catholic reform movement. "The Roman Catholic Church has to revise its sexual teachings because I think that this is the root of pedophile crime," Weisner told Reuters.

Jon O’Brien, president of the U.S.-based group Catholics for Choice, said the Vatican "feels threatened" by a growing movement in the Church that is in favor of a female priesthood.

O’Brien, whose group favors a female priesthood, said that while he understood the technical distinction of different types of Church crimes, putting the two together was another example of what he called bungled communications.

"If there is an opportunity for authorities in the Vatican to shoot themselves in the foot, they do so in both feet," O’Brien told Reuters.


Article from: Reuters.com





Related Articles
Wiccan priestess defends upcoming pagan festival (Video)
Pope´s No.2 claims sex scandal in the church is linked to homosexuality not priestly celibacy
Letter shows Pope Benedict resisted defrocking molester priest "for the good of the church"
Paedophile Irish Priests Not Prosecuted (Video)
“Irregular” Priest Named to Head UN General Assembly
Hellenic Olympic Committee announces the High Priestess for the Lighting Ceremony


Latest News from our Front Page

Whistleblower: Margaret Thatcher knew all about underage sex ring
2014 07 29
Margaret Thatcher was told about alleged sex parties with under-age boys held by one of her closest aides claims her former personal bodyguard. Barry Strevens, who worked as the prime minister’s personal bodyguard, said that he passed on allegations about her confidant Sir Peter Morrison. The former senior police officer said that Lady Thatcher appointed Sir Peter deputy party chairman of the ...
The Absurd, Bureaucratic Hell That Is the American Police State
2014 07 29
“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet ...
Australian Government Pushing ‘Internet Tax’ To Pay For NSA Style Spying
2014 07 29
Forcing private companies to become mass surveillance hubs The Australian government is pushing to implement a ”surveillance tax” on the people of the country in order to pay for a mandate that would see communications companies retaining data on customers for two years. In a disturbing development that should serve as a warning to Americans, the Australian Attorney-General admitted that the surveillance ...
Japanese leader proposes first-ever ’Robot Olympics’
2014 07 29
Nations of the world will be sending their most talented athletes to Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympic Games – but if Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gets his way, they might also be pitting robots against each other. Abe announced his vision while touring robotics factories in Tokyo and Saitama, which is located just north of the country’s capital. According ...
Israel Student Union Set Up “War Room” to Sell Gaza Massacre on Facebook
2014 07 29
This article was published on July 14, 2014. The death toll in Gaza as of today, July 23, 2014, reaches 678 according to Al-Akhbar. Students at the IDC Herzliya “war room,” seen here in a screenshot, focus on posting propaganda justifying Israel’s attack on Gaza on Facebook. As the death toll from Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza continues to climb, Israel has ...
More News »