Will Vatican Discipline Offending Bishops?

New York Times Editorial

By The editorial board,  in NY Times  June 8, 2016

Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican last

(Note: Apparently neither New York times nor people in general seem to believe or take seriously what the Pope or the Church says when it is about taking action against priestly class or highly placed prelates. Why? Who will ever cut the branch on which one is perching? Today people look at prelates in the church not to hear what they say (preach) but what they do (recall recent kidnap and torture of Cudappah bishop by 3 priests). They expect church to lead by example, not by the silence of nearly 180 brother bishops to that kidnap. People already interpreted their silence as eloquent expressions  of their admission of guilt, connivance or cowardice. Some ten years ago this scribe also worte that he had not seen or heard of any Indian priest or bishop donating eyes after death although there was no dearth of their preaching and exhorting the faithful to do it. But today with the breath-taking, eye-popping  examples of Pala Bishop Murikan, Fr. David Chiramel, Fr.Sebastian and few sisters donating their kidney to revive the dying, a real revolutionary rebirth of Jesus-like mercy towards the needy, is bursting out like cool springs in the arid desert of Kerala. While Bishop Murickan and Fr. Chiramel made the sacrifice and self-less service to save a Hindu brother of theirs, Fr. Sebastian did it for Muslim brother. This breaking down of man-made religious barriers and divisions can never be done by any amount of priestly or Episcopal  preaching or pastoral letters sent from any air James Kottorconditioned cool surroundings. The Pope may call himself sinner, beat his breast or embrace a leper. None of these things need necessarily to move most of the Indian bishops who live in ivory towers. james kottoor, editor)

Victims and their advocates are understandably skeptical about Pope Francis’ latest plan for disciplining bishops who schemed for years to protect abusive priests in the church’s devastating pedophilia scandal.

The pope dropped last year’s plan to create a special tribunal to investigate offending bishops. Instead, last week, he handed the task to existing Vatican agencies, accompanied by a personal order to investigate and remove diocesan leaders found guilty of engaging in cover-ups.

The fief-like powers of bishops, plus the Vatican’s failure to act, made cover-ups possible. After Francis became pope, he promised that the Vatican would do more to address a scandal that, as the news media revealed, had reached staggering proportions.

In the United States alone, where more than 700 priests were eventually dismissed, no bishops were punished by Rome as the scandal unfolded. This despite an investigation by lay leaders who warned “there must be consequences” for those who provided refuge for priests accused of raping schoolchildren, which often meant that the accused priests were shifted from parish to parish.

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1 Response

  1. Denis Daniel says:



    Pope puts archbishop, accused of sex abuse, on leave 

    Published on: 1:52 am, June 9, 2016 Story By: mattersindia.com

    Archbishop Anthony Apuron

    HAGÅTÑA, Guam: Pope Francis has appointed a Hong Kong-born Vatican official to oversee the Catholic Church on Guam, a Pacific island, after mounting accusations of sexual abuse leveled against its archbishop.

    The change came June 6, two days after the Vatican announced that the pope had signed off on new measures to remove bishops who fail to respond to abuse allegations.

    For the moment, Anthony Apuron, 70, will retain his title of archbishop of Agaña. However, Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon, now second in command of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has been given temporary authority to govern the Guam archdiocese that Apuron has led since 1986.

    This is the first time in recent history that the Vatican has made such an appointment in a U.S. territory, reports 12news.com.

    What makes this case different from almost all others is that Guam’s archbishop himself is the one accused of sexual misconduct.

    Archbishop Apuron’s office said in a statement that he made the request for an apostolic administrator pending investigation of the abuse allegation against him.

    On May 17, Roy T. Quintanilla, 52, who now lives in Honolulu, came forward to accuse Archbishop Apuron of abusing him when he was an altar boy 40 years ago at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Agat, Guam, and Apuron was a parish priest.

    On May 30, Doris Y. Concepcion, inspired by Quintanilla’s coming forward, also said that before her son, Joseph A. Quinata, died 11 years ago, he told her that Apuron molested him when he was an altar boy in Agat, also in the 1970s.

    Quintanilla was not the first to accuse the archbishop of molestation, but he was the first come out publicly with his personal account, flying from Hawaii to Guam to have a press conference.

    Archbishop Apuron has denied both accusations. He has not been charged with a crime and no civil lawsuit has been filed against him.

    Under the new decree published June 4, the Vatican can investigate a bishop found guilty of serious negligence in tackling “acts that caused serious harm to others,” according to Religion News Service.

    The pope specified that such negligence includes failing to oust a suspected abuser. That has not been the case in the past, and that oversight has been one of the most contentious aspects of the church’s response to the crisis.

    In such circumstances, a bishop would still have the right to respond and the Vatican could subsequently remove him or ask him to resign.

    In May, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church should have a zero tolerance to pedophilia and asserted that canon law has no statute of limitations on tackling sexual abuse. In 2011, Guam abolished its statute of limitations on prosecuting sex crimes against children.

    Deacon Steve Martinez, former coordinator of a Guam church group charged with reviewing sexual-abuse allegations involving clergy, said that Archbishop Apuron purposely kept the Guam archdiocese’s sexual-abuse policy weak to protect himself. On Friday, the archdiocese said it would take action against Martinez in addition to appointing an independent investigator to look into the accusations.

    Nearly 6 of every 7 residents of the Archdiocese of Agaña identify as Catholic, 157,000 parishioners, according to information at Catholic-Hierarchy.org. The archdiocese includes Guam, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau.

    Located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, Guam is one of five American territories with an established civilian government.

    The capital city is Hagåtña. Guam is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands, and the largest island in Micronesia.

    Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to visit the island in 1521. Between the 1500s and the 1700s, Guam was an important stopover for the Spanish Manila Galleons. During the Spanish–American War, the United States captured Guam on June 21, 1898. Under the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded Guam to the United States on December 10, 1898. Guam is among the seventeen Non-Self-Governing Territories of the United Nations.

    On December 7, 1941, hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese occupied Guam and occupied it for 30 months. During the occupation, Guamanians were subjected to culture alignment, forced labor, beheadings, rape, and torture.

    American forces recaptured the island on July 21, 1944. Since the 1960s, the economy is supported by two industries: tourism and the United States Armed Forces.

    This news tells another story, Dr. Kottoor!

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