Scots Bishops May Face Prosecution…

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CHURCH officials have warned that Catholic dioceses and bishops who ignored complaints over alleged sexual abuse by priests will be reported to police for prosecution.

Complaints of clerical sexual abuse stretching back almost 70 years are the subject of a review by the Catholic Church in Scotland, which insists any serious complaint since 1947 must be passed on to the police even if both alleged victim and priest are dead.

Tina Campbell, national safeguarding co-ordinator for the Scottish Catholic Church, said that for the first time the eight dioceses will be made accountable for their handling of clerical sexual abuse and that allegations ignored by previous bishops will be reported by her office to Police Scotland.

She said: “They are having to report if they have actioned or not. If they say, ‘we found something in the file but we haven’t reported it to the police’, they will be questioned about that.

“If there is an allegation and it has not been reported to police it must now be ­reported.”

The Catholic Church in Scotland is undergoing a two-tiered examination of its handling of clerical sex abuse. The McLellan Commission, led by the Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan, a former moderator of the Church of Scotland, is examining the Catholic Church’s current safety provisions and is expected to report early next year.

A second study of historical cases from 1947 to 2007 is now under way with each diocese expected to provide detailed information on: complaints of sexual abuse reported to the police and their outcome; complaints not reported, the reason why and proof that they have now been reported; and, finally, updates on “problem priests” who are not accused of criminal behaviour but have formed inappropriate relationships etc and details of their treatment and support.

The historical review is also being carried out by all religious organisations, including orders of nuns and monks such as at Fort Augustus, now the subject of a police investigation over allegations of rape and sexual abuse of boys.

A source close to the Church said: “There could well be further police investigations as a result of the historical review.”

Once collated by the national safeguarding co-ordinator, the statistics will be analysed by Professor Eddie McKenzie at Strathclyde University before publication. However, the information will be anonymised and the names of abuser priests withheld.

Asked if the Catholic Church was funding professional counselling for the victims of abuser priests, Campbell said she did not know.

She said: “I would say they probably are but I wouldn’t necessarily know. It would be very much dependent on each diocese and what is happening. I wouldn’t be able to say with great certainty of this case or that case.”

Last week, Father Thomas Mullen, a priest in the archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, was dismissed by the Vatican over child abuse allegations, despite the Crown deciding not to prosecute due to the time that had elapsed since the alleged offences.

However Alan Draper, a former deputy director of social work, who has advised the Church on abuse issues, was critical of the delays. He said: “It is an indictment it has taken so long. It is still not sufficiently independent, being left to the very people likely to have been involved in the past cover-ups.

“The greater indictment is the failure to support victims and the fact Tina Campbell has no knowledge of what has been done, if anything.

“The bishops should hang their heads in shame.”  Source

Comment

Do you agree that historic cases of possible neglect by bishops to deal with allegations of sexual abuse against priests should be prosecuted, or does this latest move smack of revenge? 

And is there any link between the bishops’ neglect to proclaim the Catholic Faith and discipline dissenters, and their (alleged) neglect in sexual abuse cases?   I think there is – what do you think?

57 responses

  1. I need to Tweet this link Please add a Tweet button to your blog posts

    Thanks

    Dominie Mary Beatrice Stemp

    Catechist Freelance writer

    On Twitter @DominieStemp

    • Dominie,

      WordPress point out that we already have a button to allow users to link to their tweets. You don’t see it until you click on “leave a comment” and then you will see it at the end of the blog article, where it says “share this…” and one of the options is Twitter. You can click on that button to link to your tweets.

  2. I have various thoughts swimming around in my head. I will try to get them down on paper and not contradict myself.

    1. Allegations of abuse should always been reported to the Police. They are the competent authority to investigate. The Diocese should feel free to conduct their own investigation in line with Canon Law, but abuse is a criminal offence and all criminal offences should be reported.

    2. If any evidence is found that a bishop has covered up abuse, then the bishop should be prosecuted. Surely this is perverting the course of justice?

    3. I think historical allegations should be passed on to the police in order to promote transparency. However, I see little gain in passing on details when one or both of the parties are dead. What could possibly be gained? It’s unfair to drag the name of a dead person through the mud when they cannot defend themselves.

    4. There must be an exception for anything that was revealed in the Confessional.

    5. This is the most important part of my post. We must be in no doubt that the abuse of minors by bishops and priests is a symptom of the loss of Faith. I’m absolutely certain of this. The same can be said for those who have covered up such atrocities. Restoring the authentic Catholic Faith in its entirety is the only answer.

    • I completely agree that bishops should be prosecuted for covering up abuse. I also agree that this should not be the case if victims/priest are dead and can’t speak for themselves.

      Above all I agree with Petrus that “restoring the authentic Catholic Faith in its entirety is the only answer”. I think that is the crux of this whole business. It’s because they have lost their moorings altogether, that this abuse has taken place at all and the bishops in their spiritual blindness have failed in their duty even as ordinary citizens, never mind as shepherds of souls.

    • Petrus,

      I wouldn’t even mention the Confessional because (a) it is unlikely that any predator would confess this sin (b) the priest does not necessarily know the identity of people in confession (c) in no way is any priest allowed to tell anyone anything from anyone’s confession. That has to be a given. Apart from that, all five of your points are correct.

  3. Spare a thought for priests who are innocent of any abuse, yet tarred with the same brush. In some places, priests are treated abusively, shouted at in the street and so on. No other group is treated as guilty parties on the back of colleagues’ crimes.

    Without trying to excuse the bishops, I think we have to bear in mind that their motives were probably good in that they wanted to prevent scandal.

    • In preventing scandal, were they doing it to defend Holy Mother Church, or the establishment from which they benefited from so cosily? I feel there is a difference. One is understandable, the other is Pharisaical and narcissistic. The people who did this rarely loved the Church and the Faithful in the classic sense , they were usually collaborators in the Aggiornamento. This is also utilitarian reasoning, which responsible prelates would have known, i.e. Catholic moral teaching does not permit evil, even if it is for the ‘greater good’.

      I recall the little working class, scruffy Irish boy, who as an adult, recalled on television, the time he and others complained about who would later become publicly known as a prolific predatory priestly pederast. The little peasant boy, no more than ten, was bought before three churchmen, one who would later become the incumbent Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh. He was made to swear upon the Holy Bible, yes, he was made to take an oath, declaring he was telling the truth. That to me, is very disturbing. Who the hell did these men think they were? The Church has never had civil jurisdiction in Ireland, yet these cronies were acting like pompous little magistrates, coercing canonically unrepresented children to take oaths.

      When BBC questioned the Church about this, they said it was only so as to give the child’s complaints more weight. Well that’s nonsense, because nothing was done about this man, he was transferred and free to abuse more. These children just weren’t taken seriously. But they take the secular media seriously don’t they? That’s the only thing that made them take action. How so? It is clear they are obsessed about their own reputations, not the Holy Church of God’s.

      Regards to the oath, the Church’s correct reply should have been: we apologise for making them do this, we put the fear of God into them, the children of commoners with no knowledge of civil or ecclesiastical law, and since they were under duress the oaths are valid and non-binding.

      When Pope Francis recently apologised to the victims of sexual abuse, I though to myself, what a shallow and heartless thing to say. He should have apologised for this, to all Catholics and victims: I apologise for the culture of cronyism and careersim among the faithless and self-interested hierarchy which let all this happen. As of yet, no Pope has ever apologised for this. The one who is most responsible has just been canonised. Even the Church has admitted that John Paul II was administratively utterly incompetent.

      • Also, a Christian ought to have asked himself, what is the more pertinent duty and the greater evil: to be an accessory to someone else’s sin, or to risk permitting potential scandal.

        Much of the time this scandal could have been avoided if the priests had never been admitted to seminary in the first place. In his CTS booklet on the subject, the Catholic psychiatrist Dr Pravin Thevathasan, writes how many of the proven clerical abusers had been complained about by fellow seminarians. Alarm bells were sounding before they even got anywhere near a parish, yet these men were not taken seriously either.

        • Miles Immaculatae,

          I agree with both of your posts. If the bishops concerned had been genuinely worried about preventing scandal against the Church, they would still have taken action to protect children, not moved priests around.

          I especially agree with what you say about many of these men should not have been ordained and that complaints had been made against them even before ordination. That is a crying scandal in itself.

          As heartless as it may sound, I think all bishops who covered up complaints and moved clergy around rather than deal with the damage they’d done to young people, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

            • I have a feeling that’s already happened. I think it is more than likely that those who have covered up abuse are now gone.

                • Well, it makes no difference whether they’re retired or not – the Scotsman report makes clear that any bishop found to have covered up abuse complaints, will face prosecution.

                  I suspect there will be some very nervous bishops who would be grateful for our prayers, possibly even wishing they had paid attention to our reports on the decline of the Church in Scotland and our exhortations to act against dissenting priests, and to restore the Faith, over the years. One never knows…

          • Josephine,

            I agree, if the bishops had been concerned about preventing scandal, they would not have moved priests around without having thoroughly investigated the complaints brought against the offenders.

    • I’m a little more skeptical than you about the motives of these bishops, Pious. I believe most of them covered up the scandal because they themselves were homosexuals, and therefore beholden to their priests of like abomination. It’s called “the threat of blackmail.”

  4. There is no law in this country requiring anyone to report any suspected crime.

    It is NEVER the right or duty of a bishop to tell the police of an accusation made against a priest. The right to decide whether to go to the police with an allegation of abuse belongs entirely to the alleged victim, or, in the case of a child, to his or her parents – unless of course it is the parents themselves who are under suspicion. Many people choose not to put themselves or their children through the ordeal of a trial. That may not be helpful in that it leaves the (alleged) abuser free to act again, but it is completely understandable. Are parents of chidren who failed to report to the police that their children may have been abused also to be investigated?

    I would oppose any change in the law that led to mandatory reporting of abuse allegations which would ride roughshod over the rights of victims and their parents. Any attempt to impose such a ruling retrospectively would be a very gravet injustice.

    And what makes anyone think there has been a cover up in Scotland anyway? Are we in danger of falling into the trap laid by hostile media in assuming that abuse has long been rife throughout the Catholic Church?

    Also, what is often called “cover up” is probably, in most cases, untrained individuals, dealing with something of which they had no knowledge or understanding, believing that sex abusers could easily change their behaviour, acting in the way that seemed right at the time. They should not be castigated or judged harshly for that. It is time, IMHO, for Cathilics to be less defensive about the whole business of historical abuse.

    Abuse by priests is even more sickening that by anyone else, but the idea that abuse by priests is more common than by other groups of people is a lie put out to detract from the reputation of the Church and to be a distraction from the greater prevalence of sex abuse among other groups.

    This is worth a read.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/mar/11/catholic-abuse-priests

    There is also a reprt from the US that says that, historically, of all the places chidren go – school, sports clubs, church, etc, – statistically the safest place is church, and of all the denominations they could attend, the Catholic Church is safest. One of the reasons that we are more aware of alleged abuse by priests is that Canon Law requires records to be kept. The Church has become a victim of its own (good) procedures. It is reckoned that other denominations have had more allegations made against their clergy, but they have not been so well documented.

    • Eileenanne,

      An excellent post. Thank you for it.

      I completely agree about the fact that this problem in the Church, reprehensible though it is if even one child is abused, is nothing like as bad as it is being portrayed in the media. We have a link on our website (Priesthood page) to a study carried out by a prominent Jewish businessman which concludes that the problem is, to say the least, exaggerated by the media.

      I also agree that it is up to the victims to report allegations to the police. There are plenty of examples around of the police refusing to act on third party allegations or suspicions in relation to other possible crimes.

      I would add, though, that the bishops have compounded the problem – and lent support themselves to the notion that they should be held accountable by “society” – by setting up their child protection procedures to fit models in secular society, instead of applying Canon Law which is all that would be necessary to deal with the issue of abusers within the Church.

      Having agreed to appoint a lay woman and a Protestant minister to oversee the clergy (such an insult) they have left themselves open to the “enquiry and accountability” mentality prevalent in our society. Thus, they may well feel nervous of possible consequences, because the mood, inside and outside the Church right now, is one of vengeance. Despite the state-sanctioned routine slaughter of babies in their mother’s wombs, there is a lot of lip-service paid to the well-being of children and that fact, coupled with the anti-Catholicism endemic in Scotland, this issue is like gold-dust to the enemies of the Faith.

      I will take a look at your link later, but it is certainly a well-documented fact that child abuse in other groups in a much more serious problem than within the Catholic Church – not, as we know, that this excuses any abuse. The Church should be an entirely abuse-free zone.

      • Editor and Eileenanne,

        I see your point. However, what has happened, I don’t know if it’s happened in Scotland or not, is that a bishop has discovered a priest has abused children and simply moved him parish.

        I accept that allegations are different. However, If a priest admits to a bishop that he has abused a child then the bishop should call the police.

        • One last thing, if the bishop isn’t responsible for contacting the police in the event of an allegation, he should be encouraging the complainant to contact the police.

          • Petrus,

            I agree that the bishops should always tell the complainant to contact the police. That’s what we would do if a neighbour came to our door to say she’d had a break-in at her home. We wouldn’t feel we had to phone the police to report it.

            I also think there is a grey area caused by bishops moving priests to another parish after a complaint because that could have been done quite innocently, if the bishop thought there was no proof or the complaint was malicious. We are talking about the days when this problem wasn’t talked about, not really known. Also these predatory people are very plausible. It’s easy to be taken in by them, so I think we shouldn’t be too harsh on the bishops as I do think they were more likely misguided than deliberately covering up crimes.

            I also agree it was a mistake to put systems in place using lay people to supervise. That gives the impression that priests are not to be trusted. I feel sorry for the majority of priests who suffer a lot from having the reputation of all priests tarnished by a few perverts.

  5. I think that cases dating back to 1947 should emphatically not be the subject of any investigation, whether in the case of clerical sexual abuse or of such abuse in the secular world. People, especially younger people, seem not to see anything wrong with judging acts committed almost seventy years ago by the standards of today. What used to be called ‘gross moral turpitude’ aside (and sodomy came under that heading, but who would dare to judge that today by the standards of yesteryear?), many acts nowadays categorised as abuse were not thought of as such in 1947.

    I can give a true example to illustrate what I mean. In 1949 a friend, a school leaver, got a job in an insturance office in Liverpool. In those days female employees in banks and suchlike had no hope of becoming anything more than typists or junior clerks. Being initiated into this lowly female world she was warned that Mr. X, to whom all typists and clerks had to submit their reports before taking them to the underwriters, was a ‘dirty old man’. They regarded him as pathetic, harmless and a figure of fun, and were adept at dodging his hands when they had to go into his cubicle. However, my friend was a Catholic girl, and when it was her turn to submit a report she said “Take your hands off me”. Shortly afterwards her department head sent for her and told her she would be instantly dismissed if she ever spoke to a senior member of staff in that way again. That HOD was a just and charming man – he simply acted in accordand with the zeitgeist. If my friend were here today I can’t imagine that she would be bringing a case of ‘historic abuse’ against either the man or the HOD who didn’t, by today’s standards, act as he should have done.

  6. The best way the church : that is You and Me ( that includes the editor by the way), should deal with this scandal is to stop gossiping and publicising through sites like CT personal views. Certainly PRAY for all concerned ;victims, perpetrators, and those involved in any way. Refuse to add to the situation by expressing views, privately or publically and if asked about it simply and quietly state that matters are being dealt with and the best thing anyone can do is to pray for the situation. Leave the rest to God. To express personal private or public opinion on this matter is harmful and may lead the person/s indulging in gossip or scandal mongering into the occasion of mortal sin.

        • Domchas

          Your question is inappropriate. To express a personal private or public opinion on that matter is harmful and may lead to scandal mongering.

    • Domchas,

      We are discussing a report which was published in The Scotsman Newspaper – a national newspaper in Scotland. Hardly “gossiping”.

      Have you written to the Editor of The Scotsman to express your concerns about them publicising the scandal of sexual abuse by priests? If they stop reporting it, we can stop discussing it.

      Thanks for warning us that we may, by discussing this issue, fall into mortal sin. Quite how you arrive at that conclusion beats me, but the weather is cold and threatening rain today, and I’m never on top form when the sun disappears; thanks to all this climate change, I’m not always as sharp upstairs as I used to be. I hope you’ve stopped using plastic carrier bags…

      • Editor, the fact that the topic is published in a newspaper is not an excuse for gossip and spreading of slanderous comment. On the contrary the exact opposite should happen, the LESS said the better. Haven’t noticed a discussion about the kidnapp of 200+ girls in Nigeria or any other topic of import on your pages. But of course sexual content is not involved in other important topics. As for your own personal perversion of ‘plastic bags’ what’s that got to do with the price of fish???

        Ed: by your logic, you shouldn’t be commenting at all as you are merely prolonging the “gossip”. We are a Catholic blog, not just a news blog, hence we cannot discuss everything that is reported. The matter of Bishops/priesthood/alleged abuse is very much a topic on which we must be well informed. But don’t let’s keep you. Mustn’t risk your eternal salvation hanging around gossips like us…

        • No Editor the ONE thing you are not is catholic: delusional Yes, catholic NO!!!!

          Editor: again, no examples. If I thought someone “delusional” and, as a result, “not Catholic”, I’d offer at least one example. But, again, don’t let us detain you. All the best. God bless you.

    • Where would the Church be today if St. Benedict, Ignatius of Loyola, Louis Montfort and St. Dominic to name just a few, had just prayed and done nothing to correct the evil of their times?

      If scandal could be stopped by people simply ignoring it, why hasn’t it stopped? Heaven knows, DC, you and a lot of others do just that, but the scandals keep coming, and coming.

      By the way, if you can’t tell the difference between honesty and a genuine concern for the souls who are being led astray by the bad example of the bishops and scandal mongering, why waste your time on CT?

      • Job’s tears CT is a scandal mongering rag, who have fallen into a way of comment on events and affairs which does not in fact help any situation. In fact CT is very much part of the problem rather than the solution. Advocating ‘allegiance’ to schismatic group such as sspx a group of so called priests who are not in good standing in the One Holy and Apostolic Church, founded to promote the teaching of Jesus Christ in the world. Perhaps you are right, I shall shake the dust of un catholic truth from my sandals and find somewhere where Truth and the proclamation of the Gospel is PROCLAIMED in TRUTH. Thanks for the advise, perhaps you should also follow it!

        Editor: please supply proof in the form of a formal declaration from the Vatican that the SSPX is in schism. And when you’ve failed to find such evidence, take a look at this report, emailed to me by Sixupman only this morning, and ask yourself which bishops, exactly, are in “good standing” before God? The Swiss bishop reported in The Tablet (link above) as being in favour of an end to celibacy and the introduction of women priests, or the SSPX bishops who do not deny a single dogma nor question a single traditional discipline of the Church?

        • CD, I did find a place where the Truth is proclaimed fearlessly and in its entirety, without any additions, to change the teachings of the Church to suit the times (ordain women, allow priests to marry), or subtractions (like the Protestants did), and I found it here, on CT.

          If you have had a chance to look at the link Editor provided (courtesy of Sixupman), I wonder what you think of this, “I personally can imagine a woman at the altar but it would be difficult to put into practice,” Bishop Gmür recently told the Swiss daily Aargauerzeitung. “Such a process would be a crucial test for the Church that might tear it apart. I’m afraid there would be schisms. We should first discuss the celibacy rule for men as that is only a matter of church discipline and not a doctrinal issue. In my view celibacy is not an essential precondition for the priesthood.”

          CD, you say you love the Church (as we all do)- how do you feel about this bishop who is more eager to please the world than stand for what Christ intended for His Bride, the Church? Doesn’t it bother you that he is NOT promoting the teaching of Christ? He is giving the impression that the teachings of the Church are negotiable, and that Truth can be decided by the wish of the majority, in which case, what was true yesterday is not longer true today. Are you happy with the way this bishop is representing the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

  7. Domchas,

    I used to belong to the same school of thought as you appear to. I used to think that it was enough to pray about an issue and everything would be all right. I think I was probably eased into thing that way of thinking by going with the throng for 40 odd years and accepting the advice of the bishops and priests of the post-Vatican II Church to “keep smiling through” and everything would come good.

    I consider myself very fortunate to have become a supporter of Tradition by finding and attending SSPX Masses – see this link for a Chapel near you:

    http://www.sspx.co.uk/page_chapels.htm

    And then I came across Catholic Action, and I read up on it. You could begin with The Sword of Christendom – the work of Catholic Action to re-establish the Reign of Christ the King – by the Rev. Fr. Stephen P. DeLallo.

    Modesty forbids me saying what good works I have engaged in since, but I can assure you that the graces which have been bestowed upon me as a result are highly palpable. It is something I would very strongly recommend you to look into. To paraphrase Norman Vaughan of Roses “They Grow on You” chocolates fame, give Catholic Action a try and see how it grows on you.

    Good luck and may God bless your efforts.

    • Leprechaun,

      I can vouch for that. Chocolates DO grow on you. To the extent that I’ve put on a pound in weight this week. Well, it was a long Lent…

    • Leprechaun , U would suggest that contemplative life is a waste of time!!!?? As to the belonging to a certain school of thought, Like yourself modesty forbids but You would be very very surprised. Grace is bestowed by God in many ways. More than enough said.

      Editor: those nuns and monks who live the contemplative religious life do so in order to win graces for those of us engaged in the active life, both religious life and lay Catholic Action. Similarly, no-one – ordained, religious or lay – who is truly praying and seeking God’s will could possibly fail to engage in the work of spreading and defending the Faith. Please do not make the mistake of creating a false dichotomy between prayer and action. That’s all Leprechaun meant. I suggest you stop twisting what others are writing or saying. It’s a sign of a weakness in your own argument.

      As for your concluding remarks – I do not doubt that you are a sincere and well meaning person, and that, thanks to the grace of God, you have done much good in your life. It just saddens me that (I refer now also to your other post in response to Jobstears where you describe us as a “scandal mongering rag” and “part of the problem”) you cannot see the full extent of the crisis in the Church and the Catholicity of the work of Catholic Truth. Speaking out and highlighting errors is a work of charity, as evidenced in the lives of great saints – not that we are comparable, but you will get my drift, I hope.

  8. Domchas,

    Where did I mention Contemplatives, and where did I suggest that their way of life was a waste of time? Quite simply, I did not. And how do you know what would or would not surprise me?

    You are correct in saying that God bestows His graces in many ways, but of what value are they to a soul without Charity? Here is an extract (chapter 13) from St. Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians that you might wish to contemplate between your other prayers:

    If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. [2] And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. [3] And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. [4] Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; [5] Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil;
    [6] Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; [7] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. [8] Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.
    [11] When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. [12] We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. [13] And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

    Do please continue to contribute to the blog for the enlightenment of all those lurkers who are seeking Truth, but try to control the Old Adam within you if you want to convince them that you have gained something by your efforts to make yourself more likeable to your Creator.

    God bless.

  9. Leprechaun, Editor and others, the Holy Spirit has guided me away from this abusive and God forsaken site. One day you will come to know the truth,God is truly merciful. Until then you all continue in error and heresy hunting which does displease God greatly! But He is patient with His children.

    Editor: In all the time you have been posting here, you have never, not once, give a single example of error or heresy-hunting on our part. Do you accuse editors of secular newspapers of “murder-hunting” or “burglar-hunting” or “MP’s fiddling expenses hunting?” Clearly not. Then don’t throw out unsubstantiated accusations at us, please and thank you. Now, you keep saying you are going away, so, whether “guided by the Holy Spirit” or (as we believe) some other spirit, please feel free to go. We will not detain you. God bless

    • Char

      You say the Holy Spirit has guided you away from this site but you are still here.

      Time, I think, for the Holy Spirit to get His sat-nav upgraded. Maybe you should bring it up with Him in case you get stranded here.

  10. Chardom,

    Verily, God is merciful. But He is also just !

    Were He to be universally merciful, everybody would be saved regardless of what justice they deserved. What would be the point, were that to be the case, of trying to imitate His Son, Jesus Christ if one could live a selfish life, die unrepentant, and still be saved? What would be the point of Christ having sacrificed His life on the Cross?

    “Heresy hunting”: In what way does this displease God? There is only one version of the Truth. It was revealed to us by the Son of God. Heresy contradicts Truth and is an affront to God. Again, in what way does heresy hunting displease God?

    There is food for thought here Chardom – challenge it if you wish, but in the spirit of wishing to learn if you realise you are in error.

    God bless.

  11. My goodness you are a patient lot! Chardom has NEVER engaged in reasoned or reasonable debate on any issue EVER. S/he merely comes here to spout vitriol. S/he doesn’t address any of the scandalous events which have, and are, crucifying Christ’s church, and s/he refuses to do so on the ludicrous grounds that it would be unChristian to do so. If only s/he were so scrupulous when it comes to calumny and detraction.

    • Therese,

      Thank you for noticing the fact that Chasdom does not engage in any topic.

      Over time I’ve had emails telling me I ought to block Chasdom, he’s a troll etc. and on the other hand, when I put him into moderation, I’m asked if maybe I should be more prepared to “dialogue”. Can’t win.

      He’s been asked many times to stop being nasty and to contribute something to the debate. Not once have I read a serious comment from him engaging in the topic. Despite that, I have, in the past, removed him from moderation, given him more than one second chance, so to speak. He was well warned that if there were a next time, he’d be permanently moderated. Didn’t change his behaviour and I found myself deleting descriptions of myself as “you stupid woman” and other less printable descriptions, as a matter of routine.

      Never “you slim, glamorous, fashionable woman” – note – so, hey, a gal’s not putting up with being called “stupid”. Me? Moi? 😀

      • Editor, I agree with Theresa, you are far too patient with trolls on the blog. That CD feels free to refer to you as “you stupid woman” is uncouth and inexcusable. If he were to be as abusive on any other blog he’d have been kicked off ages ago.

        I see no reason for him to be allowed on this blog, he contributes nothing, is content to toe the party line without bothering to think and seems to enjoy stirring things up to ease his boredom, who knows!

  12. Jobstears,

    I agree that CD never puts anything into the debates, always criticising the blog and not saying what he thinks except about homosexuals – he always defends them, which is interesting in itself. I knew the minute he said the blog/editor was “homophobic” where he was coming from.

  13. Jobstears and Jospehine – I agree. I posted on this thread at 6.21pm on Monday. Chasdom entered the thread just after that at 10.03. It is now Wednesday at 09.22 and Chasdom has monopolised the entire thread for two whole days. I for one am bored to death with it. I think we were supposed to be blogging about Scots bishops…………

    • Christina,

      I’ve noticed that too, that trolls like CD don’t contribute anything to discussions, just attack the editor. It’s notable about this site. I don’t really bother about blogs at all much, but when I visit other blogs I’ve never seen any other blog administrator get stick like this one does. They insult the editor and then say they can’t blog here any more because they don’t like her whereas if they really cared about the Church and the issues they would use this forum to spread the truth no matter who was running it. A friend of mine who reads this blog a lot said it’s the devil. I think so, too.

      Having read the comments right down I conclude that there won’t be any prosecutions of bishops, but I’m puzzled why Tina Campbell would say that? Whose side is she on?

      • Michaela,

        Thank you for noticing! It’s true that people commenting on other blogs wouldn’t dream of attacking the administrators as they do on this blog, nor would they announce to the world that they will never again darken the doorstep of this blog, they will not blogging here any more. I get a lot of this, sometimes on the blog and sometimes by email. Clearly these folk think they are punishing me, in some way, whereas I, frankly, couldn’t care less, not least because somebody up there keeps sending us replacement bloggers! Seriously, nobody who is truly concerned about using all available means to battle the crisis in the Church would let someone as unimportant as my slim, glamorous etc self, prevent them.

        This is an apostolate not a popularity club, and thankfully we have a fair number of informed Catholics who recognise that fact and participate in the discussions for all the right reasons. The rest? Let them go, let them tarry as the old Irish song goes. Well, the Irish had to get something right, eventually! Kidding! I’m half Irish myself (the daft half) – kidding again! 😀

        As for Tina Campbell – I haven’t a clue what she thinks she’s doing. I could use a Motherwell Mole if anybody’s interested in the position. The usual six-figure salary …

  14. Why is my comment awaiting moderation? I don’t think I’ve said anything rude yet. My self-control is altogether admirable.

    • Christina,

      I have explained a number of times that when someone like Chasdom / Domchas is in moderation, any posts containing his name will go into moderation. Can’t be helped. But yes, your self control is definitely admirable 😀

      Would I moderate thee? Think about it. Not even WordPress would dare 😀

      Reminder, folks that if you write his full name(s) your posts will disappear until I see them. Best to use a short form – or better still, don’t respond at all now. I think it’s all been said, and may I take this opportunity to thank you all for your support. I dislike having to moderate anyone – it’s really not my style, but … well… you’ve got the picture by now…

  15. One take on this, for what it may be worth, is that this is a blog where the editor manages to maintain a degree of good humour even in the face of views which do not toe the party line. It is to be hoped this particular heretic contribution does not test patience too much.

    That said, there is an interesting enough question which has rather got lost sight of: just to re-state it – should a diocese or a bishop (even retired) face prosecution?

    People here have rather generously called ‘The Scotsman’ a national newspaper but is in fact a small circulation provincial daily serving mainly the east coast. One ought not to expect too much of such journalism. Despite their august journalistic prognostications, it is just that little bit difficult to imagine how, in Scots Law, a Catholic diocese could face ‘prosecution’. By the same token, framing what the Scots used quaintly to call a ‘libel’ against a Catholic bishop (serving or retired) as the ‘panel’ beggars belief. The statements reported are is simply rhetoric by a church spokesperson, trying to suggest that no stone will be left unturned. The fact that she was not sufficiently well briefed to answer questions was not impressive.

    The reality of it is that the vast majority of these sad cases are beyond any realistic hope of prosecution in the Scottish Courts. According to the Vatican, about 850 clergy have been ‘unfrocked’ in recent years for such alleged conduct and a further 2,500 or so given lighter sanctions (but removed from contact with children and vulnerable adults). The difference between the two groups of men sanctioned is that the latter are very elderly. Damages paid have been put at USD 2.5bn.

    The Scottish case which prompted ‘the Scotsman’, was reported only after the time limit for any appeal against the Vatican decision to be lodged had passed. So one parson has been unfrocked. The sum total of the story is that, as a matter of internal, administrative discipline, a decision has been made – it is exactly like a cricketing body deciding a player has broken the ‘laws’ of the game – hardly a criminal conviction and the local club president is not heading for the Scrubbs any time soon. An internal, Vatican office is not a court of law, does not have to follow our rules of criminal evidence or procedure and cannot impose criminal sanctions. Its decisions are no sort of judgment and its proceedings, even if they have been properly recorded, carry little weight internationally.

    As the matter stands, two allegations have been made. There is, apparently, one witness to each alleged offence and, it would seem, no corroboration. So unless an alleged perpetrator actually volunteers some damaging statement, the Crown’s only hope is to argue that one credible witness is corroborated by another – and the problem is they are not witnesses to the same alleged offence. The potential gateway is to argue that the two alleged offences are connected – the facts are very similar and, crucially, the alleged offences took place within a short time of each other (American reporting of this one is assuming prosecution is time barred, which is not quite the case).

    The point remains that if no viable indictment can be framed against an alleged perpetrator, a bishop (even if now ‘retired’) who handled the case is hardly going to face any sort of charge over the same alleged incident.

    It is, perhaps, a pity that the formal, legal, route to a criminal conviction and sentence is so very difficult. It is, perhaps, undesirable that internal sanctions (although much easier to impose) are so very light. But difficult or not, it is serious theme and, perhaps, deserves more serious comment than has been appearing recently.

    • Dr John Dowden,

      Yours is not a heretic contribution – this time!

      Indeed, you make a lot of sense… for once 😀

      Thanks for pulling us up short about straying from the topic – I think we all realise now that we’ve been giving a certain troll far too much attention. Notice the past tense!

  16. Dr John Dowden,

    I found your comment most interesting. I agree that it would be nigh well impossible to prosecute a “diocese” but there is a huge appetite for prosecuting churchmen over these allegations of abuse, whether we like it or not.

    I do agree that the Church spokeswoman is far from impressive, having seen her interviewed on local TV a few times.

    The thing is that the internal sanctions do not have to be “light”, in fact if canon law was followed more of these clergy would be defrocked. The trouble is, canon law is just ignored in all sorts of ways these days.

    You are very right though to say that “if no viable indictment can be framed against an alleged perpetrator, a bishop (even if now ‘retired’), who handled the case is hardly going to face any sort of charge over the same incident.” That is undoubtedly true. My own initial gut reaction to the question was to say all should be prosecuted if they covered up a case, but I now see there are other issues to be considered.

    One smallish point – I know that The Scotsman is really an east coast newspaper but it is also one of the two nationals IMHO. The Herald is west coast but also read nationwide. I don’t read The Herald any more (since the blog here about the nasty bigoted article calling Catholics “unwashed”) and I’ve never really read The Scotsman regularly. I find I rely more and more on the web for news.

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