Potiphar's Wife: The Vatican's Secret and Child Sexual Abuse

Front Cover
ATF Press, Mar 1, 2014 - Religion - 400 pages
English summary: The cover-up of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church has been occurring under the pontificate of six popes since 1922. For 1500 years, the Catholic Church accepted that clergy who sexually abused children deserved to be stripped of their status as priests and then imprisoned. A series of papal and Council decrees from the twelfth century required such priests to be dismissed from the priesthood, and then handed over to the civil authorities for further punishment. That all changed in 1922 when Pope Pius XI issued his decree Crimen Sollicitationis that created a de facto privilege of clergy by imposing the secret of the Holy Office on all information obtained through the Churchs canonical investigations. If the State did not know about these crimes, then there would be no State trials, and the matter could be treated as a purely canonical crime to be dealt with in secret in the Church courts. Pope Pius XII continued the decree. Pope John XXIII reissued it in 1962. Pope Paul VI in 1974 extended the reach of pontifical secrecy to the allegation itself. Pope John Paul II confirmed the application of pontifical secrecy in 2001, and in 2010, Benedict XVI even extended it to allegations about priests sexually abusing intellectually disabled adults. In 2010, Pope Benedict gave a dispensation to pontifical secrecy to allow reporting to the police where the local civil law required it, that is, just enough to keep bishops out of jail. Most countries in the world do not have any such reporting laws for the vast majority of complaints about the sexual abuse of children. Pontifical secrecy, the cornerstone of the cover up continues. The effect on the lives of children by the imposition of the Churchs Top Secret classification on clergy sex abuse allegations may not have been so bad if canon law had a decent disciplinary system to dismiss these priests. The 1983 Code of Canon Law imposed a five year limitation period which virtually ensured there would be no canonical trials. It required bishops to try to reform these priests before putting them on trial. When they were on trial, the priest could plead the Vatican Catch 22 defencehe should not be dismissed because he couldnt control himself. The Church claims that all of this has changed. Very little has changed. It has fiddled around the edges of pontifical secrecy and the disciplinary canons. The Church has been moonwalking.
 

Contents

Introduction
1
Chronology of Church Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children
9
Potiphars Wife
49
Sex and the Confessional
61
The Murder in the Cathedral
69
Canon Law
77
The Canonical System of Trials
91
Canon Law on Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children
95
The Practical Application of Canon Law
207
The Cardinals Defend the Privilege of Clergy
229
Bishops Conferences Sexual Abuse Protocols and the Vatican
241
The Defence of the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI
277
Benedicts Pastoral Letter Blame the Bishops
289
The Cloyne Report In Ireland
299
Some Theological Problems With Facing The Truth
307
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child Report
313

The Secrecy Provision of Canon Law
127
Misprision of Felony
141
Mandatory Welfare Reporting
149
Law and Culture
155
The Ineffectiveness of the Church Processes
185
The Australian Royal Commission
317
A Greek Tragedy Not Facing The Truth
333
Index of Subject
353
Index of Names
359
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Kieran Tapsell studied for the Catholic priesthood at St. Columba's College, Springwood, and St. Patrick's College Manly in the 1960's, during which time he studied Canon Law for some 3 years. After leaving the seminary, he studied Law at Sydney University. He was admitted a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW in 1973, was a partner in the firm of Watkins Tapsell from 1973 to 2004, an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation and Advocacy, and a District Court Arbitrator and Mediator. He was an Acting District Court Judge from 1996 to 1999 and the author of many articles in legal journals on topics within his area of specialization. Since his retirement from his legal practice in 2004, he has been translating Latin American literature and newspaper columns from Spanish to English.

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