Catholic Church Gives Pedo Preists A Second Helping ... er, Chance ... in South America

The Catholic Church is up to its old tricks again, posting pedo preists to new parishes, just this time,on another continent. Already, there have been new allegations of abuse. This will go well!

No Machete! ? Catholics, and their lazy evil. All pricks and no machetes I tell ya.

What’s reported in that link is that pedophile priests left the U.S. to take up residence in South America, and that several churches there (whether or not they were aware of these priests’ history) allowed them to lead services.

This is a bit different than “The Catholic Church” putting children at risk in foreign countries. Whoever hired those priests dropped the ball.*

The thread title and the implication in the linked article are interestingly reminiscent of the Pit thread about “Jews” taking over and defunding a school district.

*Unless I missed something and the Pope has to sign off on every priest hiring around the world.

Genuinely not seeing the difference, here.

One of the survivor network spokespeople said bishops were involved:

You realize that priesting is not something the Catholic Church lets you moonlight in your spare time, right ? There’s no ads for “curate wanted, providing your own candelabra a plus” on the back of newspapers. They’re appointed to places, and there’s typically a stringent vetting process (if only to check for seminary credentials… again, not just anyone gets to priest. That’s Protestants.).

It would be nice to see the evidence that Clohessy has gathered on this point.

I completely agree that if a bishop is dishonestly involved in the relocation, that bishop should be suspended and hung out to dry. Given that a number of bishops did continue to play the “move the offender” game after the conference in the late 1980s that condemned that behavior, (leading to the more gravely worded declarations in 2002), I am not about to claim that no bishop is involved.

There are still aspects of the situation that are generally misunderstood. The first is that the suffragan/diocesan bishop of a diocese reports pretty much only to the pope. Other bishops have no authority to order him around. When a national conference, (such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), gets together and establishes rules of procedure or behavior, they do not have any authority to compel any specific bishop to follow those rules. If a bishop is misbehaving, there is no church police force wandering around looking to take away his powers. What the other bishops can do is file a specific petition to Rome to have the behavior examined, and if the members of the agency reporting to the Curia find that he is misbehaving, they can seek to act within Canon Law to compel him to change his behavior or to remove him.
So, Clohessy has found five priests who have been accused of misconduct who are now living in South America. Does he have evidence that the American bishop recommended that the priest move to a specific diocese outside the U.S.? Does he have evidence that the South American bishop(s) were aware of the accusations, (or that they followed Canon Law in bringing the priest into their diocese)? I absolutely agree that the commission that Pope Francis set up should be looking into this and if either of the bishops connected to each accused priest either maliciously or negligently allowed the move, they should be punished. (And if the charges against the priests prove true, they should be defrocked.)

In addition, the pope’s commission should be looking to make sure that a priest is not able to hide his trail or create counterfeit documents without being caught.

I wonder whether the “receiving” bishop in each case was aware of the charges against the priests. (Barring outright fraud), I have no such caution regarding the “sending” bishops who had to have been aware of the situations (outside the unlikely event that the priest sought the transfer prior to charges being brought against him.

Clohessy, of course, wants to cast this as a “massive” problem. It may well be. On the other hand, I would like to see the evidence. I note, for example, that three of the five have Hispanic names, (one explicitly “went home”). Is it possible that they were in the U.S. in a visitor status and simply slipped home when the heat turned up? (The bishops would still need to be involved, but the conditions approving the moves might have been different than a standard incardination/excardination and one of the bishops could have acted improperly without the other bishop being aware of it.) Similarly, I would be curious when the Belgian investigation into that priest began–before or after his transfer.

I am not claiming that the reports are without substance. I want that behavior stopped. However, I am not impressed with Clohessy’s claim that the situation is “massive” based on five events with no dates and no supporting information.

I am not at all sure that the vetting process is all that stringent–not because no one cares, but because few diocese have the resources to complete an exhaustive examination. The process to get ordained is pretty thorough, based on the number of years it takes to get ordained, although it is still subject to human error.
Once the ordination has occurred, moving around requires a formal letter from the bishop releasing the priest and the bishop seeking the priest’s services. Investigations are probably rare and the letters are subject to the personality of the bishops.

It’s about damn time we started addressing the import/export balance. Maybe we can set up a “money -> cheap manufactured goods -> child molesters” triangle with Latin America and China, much like the “slaves -> sugar -> rum” system of the 18th Century.

There is no ‘Clearing House’ of Priests and/or Bishops at the Vatican level?

If a criminal charge has been brought against a Priest or Bishop, is that fact not recorded in some Church-wide system, so that a Bishop (or others, as needed) could check such facts at a single location?


It seems such a basic step to rehabilitating the church’s reputation wrt child sexual abuse that I just assumed the Vatican would set up such a system.

Letting a previously-accused-of-molestation-priest join a new parish without warning doesn’t really look a whole lot better than reassigning a previously-accused-of-molestation-priest to a new parish. Is no one doing PR work at the Vatican? (let alone worrying about preventing child abuse)

Can you think of any good reasons why they might want to?
Or, for that matter, any good reasons why they might not want to?

Seems like a good idea. Funny, you know, but at the same time, not funny.

Priests can be found in two general flavors: diocesan and religious order.

A diocesan priest is incardinated to his particular diocese – that is, he has a defined ecclesiastical superior: his diocesan bishop.

A priest in a religious order is similarly incardinated to his religious order, and his prelate, abbott, or other figure who is the equivalent, in canon law, to a diocesan bishop is the ecclesiastical superior.

usedtobe asked about a Vatican central registry. There is none such. But the absence of such a system does not imply that a priest is free to move about the world without any system of tracking.

A priest may not serve in any position outside his own diocese or order without the permission of his ecclesiastical superior, and the permission of the diocesan bishop or equivalent where he will be serving.

A permanent transfer – excardination -– is possible. But it involves again permission from the sending and receiving bishops. Indeed, an excardination cannot take effect until an incardination has simultaneously happened.

So the sending bishop should be advising the receiving bishop of any relevant information.

At this point, the Catholic Church is basically just an elite army of child molesters, isn’t it? :mad:

To paraphrase the Westboro Baptist Church, I’d say it’s more correct that the RCC is a few child molesters and a lot of child molester enablers.

So yes, in each of these cases, there is a bishop who has been instructed by the Pope to cut this fucking shit out has dropped the ball. Either the sending bishop didn’t bother to tell the receiving bishop that the guy he’s sending happens to be a child raping monster, or the receiving bishop doesn’t care. So yes, this is absolutely the catholic church’s problem.

Serious question: why the fuck not? Give the history of abuse in the Church, how is it remotely acceptable that the Church is still not employing any sort of screening measures to make sure abusers are not allowed access to more victims?

Ooh! Ooh! Mr. Kotter! I know that one!
Is it because if they put in a screening system, it would be admitting to the world that they need a screening system, Mr. Kotter?