Monday, February 27, 2017

Bishops unhappy with speed of Vatican trials for alleged abusers

Image result for clerical sex abuseDelays in how the Vatican tackles cases of priests accused of abuse continue to be a concern for Irish bishops, a spokesman for the hierarchy has confirmed.

Addressing Australia’s royal commission into the institutional handling of abuse allegations earlier this month, Teresa Devlin, CEO of the Irish Church’s safeguarding board, said she believed that Ireland’s bishops may have asked for steps to be taken to address these delays and she knew “there is a keenness” on the part of the bishops “for this to be moved along much quicker”.

However, a spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference told The Irish Catholic that while “The lengths of penal trials have always been a concern for bishops and priests,” he had no information available on “particular representations to the CDF on this matter”.

Elphin’s Bishop Kevin Doran told The Irish Catholic that as far as he was aware, “no specific changes” had been sought from the CDF.

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He said the subject was not highlighted during the Irish bishops’ January ad limina pilgrimage to Rome, although the difficulty was recognised in meetings there. 

“When in Rome in any of the conversations, there was an awareness on all sides that from the point of view of fairness to people, it’s best if things are not delayed,” he said, adding that, “Everybody’s aware it can take time get to the bottom of things in the case of abuse or alleged abuse.”

Emphasising that cases go to Rome when there is a question of what ecclesiastical discipline should be imposed on clergy convicted of or admitting to abuse, Dr Doran said, “In situations when something doesn’t come back as quickly as you’d like you’d ring up and ask.” 

Mrs Devlin had described the need for ad hoc personal contacts to expedite cases as “not reasonable”.

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