18 November 2020, The Tablet

Topic of the week: Abuse scandals disgrace the Church


The IICSA report on child abuse and the Vatican report on the McCarrick case in the US have, once more, brought to the fore the appalling way child abuse has been dealt with in the Catholic Church.

A Canon Law instruction from 1922 stated that the investigation of abuse by a priest should be subject to the “Pontifical Secret” and dealt with in-house. Part of the purpose of this secrecy was to prevent “scandal to the faithful”, which might undermine their faith.

Well, that has been a success, hasn’t it? It was rescinded by Pope Francis only last December. He, at least, has tried to put things right, but his predecessors have a lot to answer for. The damage done to so many people is shameful to all of us who still practise our faith, but especially to the institutional Church.

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