I suppose this is progress of a sort?
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has changed church law to explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests who abuse their authority, and to say that laypeople who hold church office can be sanctioned for similar sex crimes.
The Vatican also criminalized the “grooming” of minors or vulnerable adults by priests to compel them to engage in pornography. It’s the first time church law has officially recognized as criminal the method used by sexual predators to build relationships with their victims to then sexually exploit them. (Emphasis was mine.)
And that’s the big step. But does it go far enough?
The story continues:
Ever since the 1983 Code was first issued, lawyers and bishops have complained it was completely inadequate to deal with the sexual abuse of minors, since it required time-consuming trials. Victims and their advocates, meanwhile, argued it left too much discretion in the hands of bishops who had an interest in covering up for their priests…
According the new law, priests who engage in sexual acts with anyone — not just a minor or someone who lacks the use of reason — can be defrocked if they used “force, threats or abuse of his authority” to engage in sexual acts.
Monsignor Juan Ignacio Arrieta, secretary of the Vatican’s legal office, said that could cover any rank-and-file member of the church who is sexually abused by a priest if it can be shown that the priest used force or abused his authority.
This is a loophole factory: how does a priest NOT have authority over his parishioners? It’s not like Batman putting on his cape or taking it off, the priest is an authority where’er he goes.
Religious authorities in all the different faiths in America have been in the news over the years for taking advantage of their followers, and usually young people. This is not a Catholic phenomenon.
As regular readers know, I am not a person of faith. I understand the role that Faith plays in people’s lives and I sometimes find myself wishing I had some, but I don’t even have the faith that the next tissue will popup, and it often doesn’t.