In the latest chapter of the Vatican’s attempt to come to grips with the sexual abuse crisis, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is expected to release a set of changes to the church’s rules for meting out ecclesiastical discipline against abuser priests sometime in the next few days.
Vatican sources caution, however, that the revisions are largely a matter of consolidating existing practice, rather than a dramatic new approach to how sex abuse cases are handled.
Sources also stress that the revisions affect only the internal ecclesiastical status of an accused priest. In a separate set of guidelines published in April, the Vatican said that civil law regarding reporting crimes of sexual abuse of a minor to the police and other authorities should always be followed.
In an unprecedented move, a group of Italian women who have had relationships with priests wrote an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI, saying that priests need to love and be loved.
Hardly a day passes that a phone call or a letter doesn’t bring tears to his eyes. “I never knew just how deeply women have been hurt by the church. And after hearing from so many women, I’m no longer comfortable being part of an institution that excludes them.”
Over and over again, they tell him of their struggles with faith, of the anguish of sexual abuse, of profound feelings of dejection. And of a rising anger.
“Women have such gifts, such compassion, such wisdom, which we need if the church is to be vibrant,” Bourgeois said. He believes it’s unconscionable for the hierarchy to reject their call, especially when churches are being closed and the number of priests is constantly shrinking.
Some — like a woman who wrote him about being sexually abused by a bishop — are livid that the church, while finding women unworthy for ordination, protects pedophile priests and never threatens to excommunicate them. MORE…
Father Geoffrey Farrow is a longtime Catholic priest who revealed recently that he is gay and opposed to Proposition 8, the November ballot initiative that would overturn the California Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year allowing same-sex marriage. As a result, Farrow has been stripped of his job as a parish priest in Fresno, including his salary and health benefits.
Another reason I’m no longer a Catholic.