Pope has 2000 clerical sex abuse cases to handle

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NAN   (News Agency of Nigeria  – press release)

13 May 2017

Pope Francis has 2000 sex cases to treat

Pope Francis acknowledged Saturday that the Vatican has a 2,000-case backlog in processing clerical sex abuse cases and says criticism of the slow pace was justified.

But he says more staff are being added and insists the Vatican is “on the right path.”

Pope Francis was making his first comments about the criticism levelled at the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases by Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor who resigned from Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission in March.

Collins quit because of what she said was the “unacceptable” level of resistance within the Vatican to implementing the group’s proposals to better care for victims and protect children from priests who rape and molest them.

Speaking to reporters while flying home Saturday from a trip to Portugal, Pope Francis called Collins “a great woman” and said she was “a bit right” to complain about the slow pace in processing cases.

“Marie Collins was right on that point. But we are on the right path, as there were 2,000 cases backlogged,” he said.

Pope didn’t respond to the other issues raised by Collins, including the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which handles abuse cases to create a tribunal to judge bishops who covered up for pedophile priests.

Instead, he focused on explaining why cases can take so long to process.

To improve efficiency, he said he had added more staff to the congregation and that talks were underway about providing more regional help to bishops to ensure their cases are properly documented before they arrive at the Vatican for review.

He denied he had ever agreed to a request for clemency from a pedophile priest, saying once a sentence is confirmed on appeal by the congregation “it is finished.”

The Catholic Pontiff has come under fire from some survivors and their advocates for his handling of the abuse crisis.

He won praise for having created the advisory commission and for promising “zero tolerance” for abuse.

But his advisory board has lost credibility following Collins’ departure and its failure to implement key recommendations that even Francis had approved.

10 Responses to Pope has 2000 clerical sex abuse cases to handle

  1. Sylvia says:

    A backlog of a 2,000-cases?


    This just didn’t happen overnight, did it?

    • JoeB says:

      That was my exact thought Sylvia! …… if they dealt with these cases properly as they happen…. #1 they wouldn’t have a backlog. #2 Everything they say about the abuse wouldn’t sound like lip service!

  2. Della Lynch. says:

    And I thought priests were supposed to be celibate….what a Joke!,

  3. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Della – that’s just the tip of the iceberg! These are just cases of clerical sexual abuse that have been reported to the Vatican.
    It says absolutely NOTHING about what is going on behind closed doors, that is kept a deep dark secret. Mike.

  4. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Interesting that the Pope studiously neglects to mention what is going on in his old Diocese in South America.
    I wonder why? Mike.

  5. jg says:

    Quote from above, from the “pope”:

    “He denied he had ever agreed to a request for clemency from a pedophile priest, saying once a sentence is confirmed on appeal by the congregation “it is finished.”

    “It is finished”!!!? Sounds like he is only interested in the paperwork, the bureaucracy, the clearing of cases… I don’t feel much empathy here!
    Once the transgression occurs, it is “never” finished! He is the one person who should know that , above anyone else, if he takes his “job” seriously;
    strange coincidence….2000 cases and 2000 years of history! Is that finished also?!
    It is definitely just the tip of the iceberg, of the cases never revealed, never disclosed, always covered up for generations. No half measures will do.
    “It is never finished” ,
    until the lost lamb is retrieved from the thorns…
    The Vatican should feel nothing but shame for the pain it has caused.

  6. bc says:

    I`m using this blog entry to inform of a prayer for the certification of a class action against the Holy See. If it is allowed to proceed this action will eventually have an impact on clerical abuse cases in the Maritime Provinces, Québec and Ontario; adjacent common law jurisdictions to New-York. Here is the link to the brief:

    The Holy See can be sued for it`s vicarious liability in cases of clerical abuse. After spending millions of dollars alleging it`s sovereign state immunity made it untouchable; the US Supreme Court refused to hear the Holy See`s appeal in the matter of Doe v. Holy See, 557 F.3d 1066 (9th Cir. 2009). That case finally adjudicated that from a legal perspective the activity of the Church is economic. Because there is an exception to sovereign state immunity involving economic activities; sovereign state immunity cannot shield the Holy See from civil actions against it. After the issue of the sovereign state immunity of the Holy See was dealt with; Doe`s case was tried; after the Holy See had exhausted Doe financially for a decade. Doe did not win his case but his successful fight to hold the Holy See accountable for the negligence of it`s Bishops was a landmark victory for victims of clerical abuse.

  7. Phil Johnson says:

    Hoping and praying for an affirmative outcome for the victims. As this is a US lawsuit, I wonder how Canada would fare in following the same path?

    • BC says:

      Hi Phil,

      It is very difficult to sue a foreign state in a Canadian courtroom. It has been attempted against Iran in a case involving torture and death of a Canadian citizen and it failed (Kazemi Estate v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 2014 SCC 62, [2014] 3 S.C.R. 176). However a Canadian victim could sue the Holy See in a US courtroom as per the Alien Torts Claims Statute (28 U.S.C. § 1350; ATS) which reads as follows: The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States. That’s it Phil; that’s the whole statute. One sentence.

      I too hope that this class action will be certified. I would like that the plaintiffs win their case but they wouldn’t be loosing it in vain: everytime a victim seeks remedies valuable intelligence is gained into the Church’s human trafficking operation.

      • Phil Johnson says:

        You’re right BC…time will tell if they are successful. It’s utterly depressing to see how that church continues to fight tooth and nail to protect their money and to hell with the victims who in almost every case was a parishioner…that’s how they treat their flock.

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