Pharyngula

An interesting letter has been unearthed. It reveals that the Vatican was officially instructing its clergy to hide pedophilia cases from civil authorities.

Signed by the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, Pope John Paul II’s diplomat to Ireland, the letter instructs Irish bishops that their new policy of making the reporting of suspected crimes mandatory “gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.”

Storero wrote that canon law, which required abuse allegations and punishments to be handled within the church, “must be meticulously followed.” Any bishops who tried to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the “highly embarrassing” position of having their actions overturned on appeal in Rome, he wrote.

Child-abuse activists in Ireland said the 1997 letter demonstrates that the protection of pedophile priests from criminal investigation was not only sanctioned by Vatican leaders but ordered by them.

“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Yeah, I have serious reservations of a moral character about the Catholic church, that’s for sure.

I am bemused by the threat that if a church dared to invoke civil authorities to protect the children in their charge from rapacious priests, their actions would be overturned by the Vatican. Is that basically saying that if locals do anything other than work with the Vatican to quarantine child-rapers, the Vatican will do whatever they can to put the rapist right back into his position? Sweet. They really don’t care at all about their congregations, do they?