May 16th, 2011
05:43 AM ET

Vatican's new sex abuse guidelines don't require reporting

By Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia

New Vatican guidelines aimed at fighting child abuse by priests tell Catholic bishops they should cooperate with police, but do not order them to report allegations to the authorities.

"Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law," says the letter to bishops around the world, using the Vatican term for a violation of church law.

Abuse crisis fuels debate over John Paul II’s legacy

Local laws on reporting suspected crimes to the authorities "should always be followed," the guidelines say.

The new Vatican advice gives national conferences of bishops until May next year to come up with their own guidelines on how to handle allegations of abuse.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi conceded that there was little new in Monday's letter, but said breaking new ground was not the point - standardizing the church's response to abuse allegations was.

Read more coverage of the Roman Catholic Church

"Novelty is not the aim of the document," he said. "The aim of the letter is to have a common denominator of principles."

Many countries' bishops' conferences already have plans in place, but some - such as Italy - do not, Lombardi said.

"For some that have already started dealing with the problem, this letter is an encouragement, and some who have never worked on it will now start dealing with it," Lombardi said.

Bishops in Belgium and the Netherlands - both facing sex abuse scandals - are working on their own sets of guidelines. Other nations, such as Brazil, Germany, and many English-speaking countries already have them, Lombardi said.

Advocates for victims said even before they were released that they would not solve the problem.

"Bishops ignore and conceal child sex crimes because they can," said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "So any 'reform' that doesn't diminish bishops' power and discretion is virtually meaningless."

And the new Vatican statement will not require bishops to report suspected abusers to the police, he anticipated.

"They aren't binding or mandatory, just suggestions," he said. "Such voluntary 'guidelines' have been widely ignored for years in the past. Top church staff have known of clergy sex crimes and cover ups for decades, if not centuries."

Clohessy spoke to CNN before seeing the Vatican's statement.

Follow CNN’s Belief Blog on Twitter.

The Catholic Church has been reeling in the face of accusations of child abuse from across the United States and Europe, and stretching back decades.

In the United States, eight Catholic dioceses and one Jesuit order have filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of lawsuits by victims, according to BishopAccountability, which tracks reports of abuse by priests.

The scandal has now spread to Philadelphia, where  four priests and a parochial school teacher pleaded not guilty last month to sexual abuse and conspiracy charges.

A Philadelphia grand jury report released in February led to criminal charges against them by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. All five have also been charged with conspiracy.

A total of 23 priests in the Philadelphia area have been placed on administrative leave.

And a series of government-backed reports in deeply Catholic Ireland found a pattern of abuse and systematic cover-ups by church officials stretching back to the 1930s.

The Vatican says only a tiny percentage of priests abuse children, and that it is taking steps to fight the problem, including defrocking priests or forcing them into positions where they do not have contact with the public.

Pope Benedict XVI issued new rules last year aimed at stopping abuse.

They included doubling the statute of limitations on the church's own prosecution of suspected molesters from 10 to 20 years, making it a church crime for a priest to download child pornography, and allowing the pope to defrock a priest without a formal Vatican trial.

Monday's guidelines, known officially as a Circular Letter from the Vatican to Catholic bishops' conferences around the world, are a follow-up to last year's statement from the pope, "motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Sex abuse • Vatican

soundoff (424 Responses)
  1. MikeBell

    How does this compare to how the tribes in Afghanistan molest young boys? Do they get a pass on this issue?

    May 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      If they are lucky, they just get shot.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  2. Paul

    If you are caught molesting a child and this is proven for fact, then you should be excommunicated and handed ofver to the authorities. There are no questions, thats it.....

    May 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • paxman2

      I agree 100%.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • John C

      I don't think you understand what "excommunicated" means.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • YBP

      Since religion is purely imaginary, the penalty of excommunication is equally imaginary. Non-Catholics aren't affected by it, and atheists and anti-theists acyually scoff at it. Just throw these guys in the slammer.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  3. paxman2

    Yes, many so called Catholics, Christians and all other religions are not practicing what they preach and that really hurts religion. As Mahatma Gandhi said "If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today." Jesus had his strongest words against the scribes and the pharisees. The church has done many wrong things and had many bad leaders over the years, but that doesn't invalidate the teachings of JC or the sacraments. There are many misconceptions about what the RC church teaches. The RC church believes in evolution, that anyone of any faith (or no faith) can go to heaven, even if they commit suicide, only God knows the state of a person's mind and soul when they die and only God can judge. Canonization does not PUT saints in heaven, it just a process where they recognize a person's life as saintly and so the church believes they are in heaven. For other religions that claim you must believe in JC before you die to get in, as the Bible says 'even the devil believes', and also 'faith without works is dead'. So you can just proclaim faith with your lips and then know you are saved. Also in the Bible JC explicitly describes the final judgment, "when in was hungry..." He never says in that judgment "because you believed in me". Believing is tough for highly rational people. Look at the apostle Thomas, he knew JC personally, he had the personal testimony of the other apostles, and still he didn't believe. So as long as non-believers are good and truly giving people, I'm sure they'll get in. I only try to convince you of what I know because it makes life so much more worthwhile and beautiful. I can be at peace when there is death and destruction in this temporary home because I know there is a permanent one of much greater beauty. I can be at peace when a loved one dies because I know there is more to this life than what we see.


    May 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • paxman2

      Oops, one missing letter reverse the sense: "So you can't just proclaim faith with your lips and then know you are saved."

      May 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • paxman2

      Oops again "when I was hungry..."

      May 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • YBP

      You need to be corrected on one important point, Pax. You're clearly not a New Testament scholar. When you talk about what Jesus is reported to have said about the scribes and the Pharisees, you are terribly misguided. If you understood the gospels, what they are, and why they were written, you wouldn't have referred to them as you did. I know that I am just an anonymous nobody here in cyberspace, and you have no reason to take me seriously, but you're free to look into what I have to say for yourself if you are that serious about your religion. These kinds of quotes from the gospels have proven lethal to millions of people over the course of history. We now know better why they were written, but more importantly by whom. The gospels were written at least 40 years after the time that the crucifixion is assumed to have taken place, as well as after the destruction of Jerusalem in the The Fiirst Jewish Revolt. The gospels were anonymous, and the first one, Mark, was written by pagan-Christians. The author(s) were influenced by the preaching of Saul, who persecuted and always despised Jesus' disciples, even when he was pretending to be "brotherly" toward them. Why? Because they rejected him. he was quite self-important. How dare they? And why? Becuase what he ws preaching was total nonsense, and had nothing to do with their Jesus and what he stood for. Saul began an entirely new religion based on his "mystical visions" which he claimed were of the same Jesus. (Saul is beginning to look more and more like Joseph Smith.) The name Jesus means "Yahweh Saves," so it should come as no surpise that anyone would name their saviour Yeshua (translated into Greek as Iesous, and mispronounced in English as Jesus). Those that wrote the gospels were several degrees removed from Jewish culture, practice and belief, which if an historical Jesus existed, he would have undoubtedly followed to the letter. (That's called Mosaic Law, similar to Sahria Law in many respects, especially that it is equally backward and uninspired.) The authors of the gospels were in conflict with the Pharisees of their own time (70-100 CE), and so they wrote that Jesus was also, and that Jesus railed against them. The truth is that Jesus had more in common with the Pharisees than not. The Essenes and the Zealots were offshoots of the Pharisee sect, and Jesus likely belonged to either of those parties. My guess, based on his being crucified: Zealot. So, don't assume that you know what Jesus said. Not until you have looked into it. Jesus' ethics and beliefs were strictly Jewish. Nothing new. The only thing that Jesus had to say that was new and different was that he was the fabled Son of Man from the psuedo-prophetic Book of Daniel. And you know where that got him. Look into it.

      Peace. I mean, "Pax."

      May 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • paxman2

      YBP, yes I am not a New Testament scholar and I would guess neither are you. But yes, I have read the theories you're referring to by some who could rightly be called scholars since they have studied the subject in depth but not all scholars agree with all of their conclusions. Yes, the authors of the books of the New Testament are questionable and yes, they were written years after JC died, but that doesn't prove that JC did not raise from the dead or that Paul did not have a true vision and conversion. I know there are contradictions in the gospels, one says both thieves were taunting Jesus on the cross, another one says there's a 'good thief' who's granted forgiveness. If four or more people who knew me personally wrote stories of my life after years after my death, there would be differences and probably some misquotes, but you would probably get a fairly accurate picture of what kind of person I was and what I believed. The Bible is 'inspired' writings, telling of the person of Jesus and what he taught. Yes, every quote might not be word for word, but I think you get the overall message of what He was trying to tell us about God and the kingdom of heaven. As I have said, I have experienced first hand a near-death experience and have also traveled to Medjugorje to see what is going on there, and there I witnessed a high school girl's miraculous cure. The whole group from her school knew her for many years and had seen her health decline and her miraculous recovery. Her doctors submitted medical information to the Bishop in Mostar.

      There are many writings trying to disprove the divinity of Christ. Some 'scholars' know controversy sells. Sorry, I'm not buying.


      May 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  4. John C

    In every crime it's the responsibility of the victim to contact the civil authorities to investigate the crime and have charges brought up. Asking a bishop to handle the situation is wrong-headed and puts the bishop, accused, and accuser all in bad positions. Let the civil authority investigate the accuser's claims and if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute and convict, proceed with that legal process. The bishop's responsibility is to determine if an accusation has sufficient evidence to suspend the accused's ministry until a trial is concluded.

    May 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Ed

      I agree the victims should go to the civil authoritys but if they involve the Bishop first he should be leader enough to first encourage them to go to the authoritys and secong go with them or even for them. It may put him in a bad position, but that's leadership if he can't take he should resign. To many times in the past the Bishop has covered it up or ignored it for what eever reason. that was wrong and it need to stop. Being a leader isn't abut have power it about serving those you lead. The bishops in the past have failed to this on this issue.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  5. marcia

    Well,Ed you are correct. And Mark...you are an idiot! Read your history...if you can read!

    May 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Mark

      Its obvious that you were publicly neutered. Continue your hate, and may god have mercy on your soul. I will put my faith in God and follow the Catholic churches teachings. FYI the Daily show is not news!

      May 16, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  6. DixieDiva

    So it's business as usual for the morally bankrupt perverted pedophiles? Nice. With the A Okay nod from the Pope & Co. who needs NAMBLA? Just become a 'priest' and continue forcing your sick perversion on innocent vulnerable kids! Anyone who enters a Catholic church with children and does not supervise them the entire time is insane. This situation is an insult to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Christianity. With 'religions' like this, agnosticism doesn't look so bad! And you are the same folks who would point fingers and judge Sinead O'Connor for tearing up a photo of someone who condones and enables the abuse and atrocities committed against children in the one place that they should be safe and protected? Disgusting.

    May 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • YBP

      I agree with you, Dixie, except the part about the "innocent kids." Many (perhaps not most, but many) of these kids were old enough to know what they were doing, and could have made it stop if they wanted to. I think that any kid from the age of 14 through 17 was in "experimental" mode at that time in his life, and was fully aware, if not somewhat willing to engage. There are two sides to every story. Also, I imagine that a priest would target a certain type of kid (quiet, sensative, polite, passive, not interested in sports, artsy, bookish, nerdy, unpopular, the kind of boy who is only friends with girls). And although parents and teachers pretend to look the other way, I contend that it's somewhat easy to pick the gay kid out of a crowd.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  7. marcia

    Well,none of this should come as a surprise. This is the same criminal organization that turned a blind eye to the Nazis. We can thank Pope Pius XII for that! What a bum!

    May 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ed

      by that thought we should hate the governments and business world wide almost everyone turned a blind eye to the Nazis including at the time The USA, England, France, Canada, No scientific foundations are know to ahve spoken against them at the time. no business came out against them at the time. Fo rthat matter even the public of the world turned a blind eye for a time before finally deciciding to put a stop to it.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Name*Mark

      Really! The largest groups of persecuted groups by the nazis were Jews and Catholics. Did you know that the chief rabbi of Rome Anton Zeller converted to catholisizam because of the tremendous effort put forth by pope pius 12 did in ww2. You need to stop reading comic books disguised as history. The history channel isn't history!

      May 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • YBP

      @Name*Mark: Have you been getting your history lessons from Mike Huckabee's new cartoon series? The Nazis were Lutheran and Catholic. Their religion(s) taught them that it was perfectly justified to to do what they did. Martin Luther wrote that Christians should burn their houses, synagogues, and Talmuds; exclude the Jews from any civil protection and from taking part in commerce. And the Pope, well, he has always been pretty much right-wing in such matters. That should come as no surprise.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • John C

      ??????? Pius XII saved probably 860,000 Jewish people from death. How many did you save?

      May 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Name*Mark

      I guess your too chicken to check it out. It might counter your deep rooted hatred. And you will hold onto that for dear life. Catholisizam is as much responsible for the holocost as you are for slavery

      May 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Did you know that the chief rabbi of Rome Anton Zeller converted to catholisizam because of the tremendous effort put forth by pope pius 12 did in ww2'
      no he didnt, scholars reckon it was more likely because after the war the jewish community blamed him for not warning people and bascially threw him out.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'John C – ??????? Pius XII saved probably 860,000 Jewish people from death. How many did you save?'
      and where the heck are you getting that figure from? he spent most of the war keeping quiet on the matter and refusing to publicly condemn anyone. It was only towards the end of the war that he specifically started telling people to help hide jews.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Disciple

      @YBP, just because they were born and raised Lutheran or Catholic doesn't mean they practiced their religion.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • thessalonian

      The blind eye is toward Catholic bigotry which continues to perpetuate such ignorant statements. There were great efforts in WWIII by the CC to help Jews, including those by Pius XII. His silence was in order to keep Jews and Christians from being murdered in greater numbers. Had he spoken they would have been killed.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • thessalonian

      CedarRapids, Really? Can you back that up? I doubt it. Ya, he would just run right over to the CC because the Jews threw him out. Nonsense.

      May 16, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'thessalonian – CedarRapids, Really? Can you back that up? I doubt it. Ya, he would just run right over to the CC because the Jews threw him out. Nonsense.'

      "Zolli was given advance warning about an imminent Aktion of the Nazis. Some critics claim he failed to warn other Roman Jews about what was about to transpire and about his own plans, describing this alleged failure to share his information with other Jews as a serious moral lapse
      After Zolli emerged from his hiding-place in the house of Pierantoni (a member of the Roman resistance party, "Giustizia e Libertà"), his position as Chief Rabbi was restored by Charles Poletti. The Jewish community finally rebuffed his request.
      After the war a great debate arose between Foa, the president of the Jewish community in Rome, and Zolli, as to who was at fault for allowing the Nazis to obtain the list of Roman Jews
      It was a time of great anxiety for Zolli, who feared that those hostile to him in the Jewish community would secure his replacement by his predecessor. He also noted that some Americans were slowly losing faith in his ability to run the Jewish community. American visitors noted his agitated mental state.
      Shortly after the end of World War II, Zolli and his second wife (his first wife had died years before) converted to the Roman Catholic Church. Their decision continues to be controversial. Zolli then went to the Gregorian University. He was baptized by Mgr. Luigi Traglia in the presence of Father Paolo Dezza, his godfather was Father Augustin Bea.
      While Christians often mention Zolli as an example of an observant Jew who found Christ, some Jewish scholars contend that Zolli's conversion was a result of having been ostracized by the Jewish community following the Holocaust, rather than a spiritual awakening"

      May 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  8. SSampson

    Once again religion fails to live up to its own teachings....... And people wonder why I am an atheist despite a forced Christian upbringing

    May 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      I dont wonder. Not even a little. Thank you for being a free thinker.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Eric

      Thank the bible that we're atheists, actually reading that atrocious makes a lot of atheists.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • YBP

      I'm with Eric. Well put.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Eric

      Sorry, smartphone typing. Left out the word book. Should be: reading that atrocious book makes a lot of atheists.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Here we have Eric, a self proclaimed atheist, who sees his mistakes and not only takes credit, but fixes them! Catholics, pay attention here!

      May 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  9. Eric

    They could have just summed it all up and said "Don't Get Caught" and call it a day.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Apparently not, but that sure would have been easier.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • marcia

      I guess they are practicing their version of "don't ask,don't tell"!!!

      May 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • YBP

      Absolutely. They have no intention of changing their ways. Especially when their people make it so easy for them, practically serving up their prey to them on a silver platter (like John the Baptist's head!).

      May 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  10. Babak from LA

    When you need guildlines for this .... What you are saying is we know we have a problem unfortunatly we can no longer push it under the rug ...

    May 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • YBP

      I think they are clearly saying, "We know that the laity thinks we have a problem, but we, the clergy who are far better than everyone else, and above both civil and canon law, are not at all interested in any serious effort to do anything to resolve it, because to us, it's simply not an issue. We just have to be more careful when we engage in these practices going forward."

      May 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  11. wade

    school personnel are required by law to report any abuse they are aware of even if it is second hand.but not the catholic church by the good wishes of the pope.things that make you go hmmmmmmm.me thinks it is time for God to clean his house.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  12. god

    Religion is a hoax, and if these pedophiles posing as priests doesn't prove it to you... your blind.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Name*Mark

      Government is a joke and if the liars and thieves don't prove it to you YOU are blind

      May 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • YBP

      I'll take our corrupt government over our twisted, evil church any day of the week. At least in a democracy, the people can eventually correct the government. But when one sinister-looking man stands in for the imaginary god, it's pretty much a hopeless situation. The solution: ban religion. Get an education. Rise above it. Or at least ignore it.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Name*Mark

      Good did you know that more s assume is perpetrated by public school teachers? People are easily corrupted

      May 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Disciple

      Why ban religion? You are not forced to practice any religion, nor are you forced to believe. Why do you assume religious people are uneducated? There is a large percentage of religious and laity that are highly educated. Many probably ha

      May 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Disciple

      Why ban religion? You are not forced to practice any religion, nor are you forced to believe. Why do you assume religious people are uneducated? There is a large percentage of religious and laity that are highly educated. Many probably have more education than even you.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  13. Greg

    Roman Catholicism is a bureaucratic regime and that has always been one of the major criticisms. Bad priests can be hidden in the bureaucracy. The Vatican tried pulling strings of Ireland government officials to cover up abuse. Anyone non-Catholic that isn't concerned by the high percentage of Catholics in our government, should be. Catholicism is the religion of the Inquisition and were granted tolerance in the US but the founders had no love for bureaucratic Catholicism, now they have ceased control in a short time.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Name*Mark

      You have no worries. Nancy pelosi cuomo, guliani, John Kerry schwarzenegger They are all so called Catholics yet don't resemble catholisizam at all. Most of our existing political Catholics are NOT catholic by any stretch of the imagination.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • YBP

      @Name*Mark: I hope that you are not implying that the Republicans are "Christians" by any sense of the imagination.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Greg

      Catholic Democrats are hated by the Church and would have faced severe consequences during the Inquisition. Catholic Republicans align with big religion while disdaining big government. Protestants gave tolerance too all religions when they started this country, now none sit on the Supreme Court. Look at the Wikipedia article about American heresy. I call myself Agnostic because I believe an all powerful god would not use man as a intermediary to communicate his word. I'm sure Dante would add more popes to he Inferno, given the chance.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Most American Catholics hardly resemble Catholics as defined by church teaching. The vast majority are in favor of contraception, around half support gay marriage, and a substantial amount are pro-choice. If you limit catholics to whatever you consider to be 'true' catholics, you'll find yourself awfully lonely.

      And with all of the people being out of line with church teachings, I have to imagine that most would find other religions if not for family pressure and guilt.

      May 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  14. Name*Mark

    Amen paxman and catholicmom. The infection begins and is perpetuated by the liberal mentality. Let the lay people drive these vermin out and continue to support the majority of the clergy

    May 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • The Jackdaw


      I'm sure God will save you.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  15. The Jackdaw

    Once again, the chrch allows its members to be above the law. One more reason in the sea of reasons why the church should be abolished.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • TheBenedictine83

      hmm, first amendment?

      May 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      An ultimately meaningless retort. Thank you.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  16. TV_Preacher

    God didn't protect the children. Ponder that, next time you want to please God by sending your kids off to church. Then ask yourself, "why not?"

    May 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      "Why not" what? Do you even know what you are trying to say?

      May 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • YBP

      "Why not?" meaning, "Why did the god not protect the children?" Perfectly clear to me.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  17. John

    I think it is a big mistake (and misunderstanding of church teachings, canon law and the authority of bishops) to not believe that these standardized guidelines on child abuse will not have a huge impact.

    Bishops will have much less discretion on how to handle these cases. The fact is that the vast majority of dioceses did handle these incidents correctly and most Bishops did work properly with civil authorities and followed government laws while still adhering to the canon law of the church.

    Tragically, a large number of Bishops did not always follow “state” laws . . . whether trying to protect “guilty” priests, plain ignorance or viewing canon law as taking precedence over “state” laws (versus running parallel to them). These Bishops now must adhere to unambiguous guidelines.

    The workings of the Catholic Church may seem slow and arduous – taking decades or even centuries. However, even decisions that may seem small can have a seismic and lasting impact on the Church in ways that aren’t apparent to most.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Matt

      The wrong decisions (or indecision) by the Bishops or Pope can also have long lasting impact on the church. By the sound of many of the comments in this forum, the church recruitment numbers won't be going up.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  18. Richard Westell

    @Paxman. Using other religions or other situations does not justify the fact that the RC Church has gone to great lengths to hide and cover up most of their interanl abuse cases. That is wrong from whichever angle you chose to look at it. In addition, some fo the other cases you rightly pointed out have lttle or no baring on this issue as they are not part of an organisation that endeavours to enlighten our paths and show us the road to God and deliver us from all evil. If the RC Church would actually do something to eradicate this vile and evil part of some humans nature, they would not be in this position today and you would not need to justify their wrong doings by citing other examples. I suppose that if your neighbour beats up his wife or molests his child then you could also do the same using your examples and in your view it would be no reason for your child to be removed from your custody. I find your argument somewhat weak and somewhat biased towards perhaps your religious insecurities.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • i cant belive is not butter

      That's what I said to him too...but your was more specific mine was more to the point ....lol

      May 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • paxman2

      I did say it is a vile and despi-cable crime and violators should be legally punished, neutered and thrown in prison when you have absolute proof (like DNA). I also said there were bishops who grossly mishandled some of these cases. If and when there is doc-umentation and proof showing anyone in the RC hierarchy has committed a crime by participating in or knowingly and purposely hiding evidence, then he should be arrested and prosecuted according to the law. Show me the sm-oking g-un that shows that the pope knew and committed a crime and he should be prosecuted too. I'm not saying anyone should be above the law. But the RC church is not going away. (having trouble answering b/c of that stupid forbidden word filter)

      May 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Colin

      @Paxman2. Your requirements for strong evidence prior to believing the allegations againsts priests and the Pope are smart and that is exactly what any thinking person should do before believing rumors an allegations.

      Now, I invite you to subject your own beliefs about miraculous apparitions to the same scrutiny.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Name*Mark

      Majogoria is not a sanctioned apporition by the church. No catholic is compelled to believe These are private apporitions we havnt had a public apporition since st John

      May 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • paxman2

      @Colin, I do investigate what I believe thoroughly, that's why I went to Medj myself to see things in person. I have had personal experiences that make me know what is going on there is true. You can stubbornly wait for the proof (the sign for the world that has been promised) but I think if you openly and prayerfully examined all the evidence and watched all the videos, you could believe too. I'll keep praying for you.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  19. paul

    Wonderful, they can keep doing it but not have to tell. Same old same old. The Catholic Church is like a leaky vessel, try to fill it with water but it all leaks out. The vessel can never overflow. That Pope looks so Evil...

    May 16, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Artist



      Your comment, ‘Learn to think and live for yourself and all of the answers you need will become loud and clear in your own ears and mind.

      Which voice are you listening to? The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, which comes from God? Or your own voice through your imagination? Or the voice of satan, the evil spirit?
      Do you talk to god and does god talk to you? Do you hear his voice?
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      May 16, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • paxman2

      @Artist, I see many intelligent believers in church every weekend, MDs, PhDs, a U.S. Senator that I know personally, even the president of the U.S. believes, so I don't think that qualifies as Schizophrenia.

      Please give me your explanation of this 18 minute old news report from 1987. http://vimeo.com/21856704 It shows unbiased opinions both for and against Medjugorje. I posted before a link to vimeo video 10286499 and someone said there's no sound (which is true) so maybe there was an audible signal so the children would synchronize their looking up. Well, there's a crowd of hundreds of people all around them, don't you think they would have heard the signal.

      Jesus loves you even if you don't believe in Him. In Medjugorje there's been a lot of evidence that Jesus exist and is who He said He was. What is your theory to explain what’s going on for the past 30 years in Medjugore? Starting in June of 1981 6 kids, ages 10 to 15 dropping to their knees at the same time, focusing on the same spot (even though they have side –blinders on), bright flashing lights and hot skin probes not showing up on their EEGs, all raising their heads simultaneously when she leaves. Being arrested by the communist police and threatened with jail and torture and refusing to change their testimony. And now 30 years later, still going to church daily, praying many hours every day, all sticking to their ‘story’ while raising families. Six pathological liars? I guess the proof will be if they die without the signs happening that they say will happen in their lifetimes. Search vimeo for Mirjana or Medjugorje. Look how young Jakov is in this 1984 video, how they all raise their eyes at the same time. They've done this in front of crowds of hundreds of people. Search u-tube videos of Mirjana. Please reply with your explanation. She says in one of her videos that Our Blessed Mother doesn't refer to atheist as non-believers but as ‘those who do not yet know the love of God’, so at least there’s hope in the way she puts it, sounds like you'll eventually come around. But she also says you'll regret waiting until the great sign, don't let your hearts become too hardened. Keep an open mind and look into it. Also, how do you explain similarities and out of body experiences in people who have had NDEs? I almost drowned as a teenager and I know what I experienced wasn't just my brain failing from lack of oxygen. I’ll keep praying for you.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • i cant belive is not butter

      Wow artist....you call your self a woman of god but you just offended and judge some one!.....well shame on you.........I'm a beliver of god ...not these monster that have penetrated the house of god...these people will pay for their crimes and also the immmpossttooorrrsss like your self.....

      May 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Colin

      @paxman2. A few factors are common to all supposed appearences by Mary.

      First, Mary is virtually always "bathed in a beautiful light". Second, she only appears in total privacy and disappears before anybody else sees her. No photos or film ever record the events. Her audience is inevitably a lone person (usually female) or a very small group, often very young children or dirt poor peasants.

      She always has “messages,” often three. The messages are always of “love and hope” and demand prayers and submission to her or to god. The messages often contain predictions, but never something verifiable like, “Tomorrow, the headlines in the New York Times will be….”.

      The locations are always rural, surrounded by a largely religious and gullible population and accessible to traffic and crowds. Farms feature prominently. Tellingly, she never appears to Buddhists, Hindus, Jains or Muslims – only to strong, devoted Catholics. Who created who?

      The evidence for these apparitions is no stronger thatn is the evidence for Bigfoot sitings or UFOs. In short, nada, zero. I am pretty sure Mary only appears to poor, credulous Catholics for the same reason that UFOs tend to abduct drunken fishermen in Mississippi..

      May 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • i cant belive is not butter

      Dam colin..that was harsh.....I totaly don't agree...but thought the drunken fisher man comment was pretty funnyyy...lol

      May 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • paxman2

      Not entirely true Colin. The kids in Medj have had eegs, blinders, etc. See http://www.medjugorje.com/medjugorje/scientific-studies.html And yes, you can wait, b/c there will be a day soon when there will be news of what is going to happen in 3 days and then it will happen and will be undeniable. If these kids go to their graves without this occurring, then it will be proof they were liars.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Artist

      i cant belive is not butter

      Wow artist....you call your self a woman of god but you just offended and judge some one!.....well shame on you.........I'm a beliver of god ...not these monster that have penetrated the house of god...these people will pay for their crimes and also the immmpossttooorrrsss like your self.....
      ?? I think you have me confused with someone else lol

      May 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'The Pope has begun a crackdown on the world’s largest illicit Catholic shrine – by suspending the priest at the centre of claims that the Virgin Mary has appeared more than 40,000 times.
      Benedict XVI has authorised ‘severe cautionary and disciplinary measures’ against Father Tomislav Vlasic, the former ‘spiritual director’ to six children who said Our Lady was appearing to them at Medjugorje in Bosnia.

      Father Vlasic was a central figure in promoting the apparitions that allegedly began in 1981 and continue to this day.
      In 1984 he boasted to Pope John Paul II that he was the one ‘who through divine providence guides the seers of Medjugorje’ and the visionaries even said that the Virgin had told them he was a living saint.

      But the Bosnian cleric later took a back seat when it emerged that he had fathered a child with a nun called Sister Rufina, and that he refused to leave his order to marry her but instead begged her not to expose him.'

      May 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Schizophrenia is a mental disorder'
      Bah, schizophrenia isnt real, its just all in your head 😛

      May 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • paxman2

      Not just poor villagers, more that 20 million people from all over the world have gone there. I went in 1991 and a terminally ill, wheelchair bound high school girl from the U.S. came back without her wheelchair and fully cured. The group had to go to Mostar to turn medical doc-umentaion over to the Bishop.
      @Cedar, some truth mixed with lies. Yes, a priest from the early days of Medj had a scandal but the pope has not said anything against Medj, only severe cautionary and disciplinary measures’ against the priest for his inappropriate relation with a nun.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • YBP

      ...because he is so evil. And he doesn't even have to pretend that he isn't. He enjoys the limitless support of the hopeless and the clueless the world over.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      lies? from who? i merely copied straight from the news article, let me post some more, including acts by the now pope that you say has had no comment on the medjugorje....

      'He (Vlasic) has also been accused of ‘the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders’, and is suspected of heresy and schism.

      Earlier this year (2008), Italian Bishop Andrea Gemma denounced the Medjugorje claims as the ‘work of the Demon’ and predicted that ‘soon the Vatican will intervene with something explosive to unmask once and for all who is behind this deceit’.

      Three Church commissions failed to find evidence to support their claims

      In 1985 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict – banned pilgrimages to the site, but this has been widely ignored.

      Instead the seers have grown wealthy as a result of their claims – and so has their town, which has boomed as a result of the ‘Madonna gold rush’.
      Some today own smart executive houses with immaculate gardens, double garages and security gates, and one has a tennis court.
      They also own expensive cars and have married – one of them, Ivan Dragicevic, to an American former beauty queen.'

      May 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Disciple

      "Local laws on reporting suspected crimes to the authorities "should always be followed," the guidelines say."

      May 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      "should" is SUCH strong language! right... How about MUST or those that fail to report it will be immediately defrocked?

      May 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • paxman2

      @Cedar. Not your lies, but lies from the source you are publishing from. I've seen those articles before but the Vatican has not condemned Medj or prohibits the faithful from going there on pilgrimage. It has said it will not pass judgment until the visions stop but the faithful are free to go there. Priest and bishops go with groups there all the time. Pope Benedict specifically address a group from Medj at one of his recent public addresses saying specifically acknowledged the Medjugorje parish and he encouraged the faithful from Medjugorje to be "evangelizers of God’s love in your nation". http://www.medjugorje.net/content/view/427/ Please don't blindly believe everything you read.

      May 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  20. paxman2

    Google statistical information on ped-ophi-lia in the general population and then the statistics on it in the RC church. Yes, it is a vile and despi-cable crime and violators should be legally punished, neutered and thrown in prison when you have absolute proof (like DNA). But are you going to publically slander and defrock every priest that an unsubstantiated decade old claim is made against? And every social group has cases of it, every religious denomination and non-religious groups. Are we going to advocate doing away with boy scouts, summer camps, schools? The number of ped-op-hile and in-c-est cases in the general non-celibate public is about twice that of RC priest or other religious denominations. Should we do away with marriage because some fathers r-ape their own children?

    Let’s grow up and face the facts like adults. The RC church is the largest church in the world so it is going to have the most cases. Most of these cases coming to light today are 20, 30 or 40 years old. Unfortunately back then we didn’t have ‘good touch, bad touch’ classes in school. Unfortunately many children didn’t tell their parents and the cases weren’t properly prosecuted. When evidence finally started to be presented it was questionable and unverifiable. Yes, there were bishops who grossly mishandled some of these accusations and cases. The church is trying to implement procedures to help insure the safety of children but there will always be se-xual crimes in the world and they will turn up in churches, schools, and families. The RC church also badly handled the crusades but it still exists today and will until the end of time, so please let’s stop the immature suggestions of dismantling the church or arresting the pope. Instead why don’t we spend our time trying to help come up with ways to ensure the safety of children in all settings and circ-umstances.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • i cant belive is not butter

      Pax man.....people are smart enough to know that just cause a catholic priest molested a child it don't mean all the catholic priest do....so why hide the truth...why hide and not turn these people in??........when the leader of the church hide the crime ,that dusssnnntt say very much about your religon,it shows that the religon is more connsern about their pockets than the word of god......they are criminals!........if they would of done the rite thing ,people would not be so worried about these priest and tha catholic religon.....

      May 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Buddha

      Comparing the incidence of abuse among populations is a red-herring. The issue is systemic cover-up going back decades, probably centuries. Schools, summer camps and boy scouts don't make the news for routinely hiding and transferring abusers to new locations – they make the news for reporting these cases to the POLICE for investigation.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Scott NYC

      The difference is the balance of power. Children are taught to hold this group of pedophiles beyond reproach. And they have a built in wall of silence and supposed expertise in relations in spite of having no such relations themselves. This is not a matter of percentages, for even 1 child is too many and yes one rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch. It is unfortunate but true, I pay more for insurance because other people drive drunk. This is a fact of life and I for one would rather err on the side of caution for the children.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Ed

      @I can't beleive its not Butter. "Pax man.....people are smart enough to know that just cause a catholic priest molested a child it don't mean all the catholic priest do"

      I agree the church handled this problem poorly and still has not done enough to fix their mistake. There is no excuse for how the leadership of the church dealt with this. However If you read the religious blogs I think you'll many people seem to think every catholic preist mo-lest children. Every article regardless of the subject as multiple respondants commenting on catholic priests ab-using children. Even the article on Bin Laden had it. So based on these blogs and the comments made it seems quite a few people think every priest is a ped-op-hile. If you suggest its not the case you often get some pretty nasty response to your post. Again I am not excusing the action there can be no excuse. Nor am I excusing the church response if want wrong.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • YBP

      Paxman2, you raise some interesting points, which leads me to believe that the best way to keep children out of harms way is not to bring them to church in the first place. I believe, as you seem to, that the only way to make this problem stop, is to put the church out of business permanently. Now I realize that you didn't say that exactly. But if one were to read between the lines of what you wrote, one would draw that conclusion.

      May 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.