Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Unveiling Secret Abuse Probes and Clerical Fraud: Lithuania's Catholic Church Under Scrutiny

Over the past three years, Lithuania's Catholic dioceses have reportedly investigated 11 cases of child abuse, yet the details surrounding these investigations remain shrouded in secrecy. 

The Centre for Investigative Journalism Redakcija, spearheading the probe, has thrown light on the church's clandestine operations, hinting at a possible discrepancy between the church's stated policies and its actual practices.

Continued Service of Convicted Priests

Investigative journalist Birutė Davidonytė has pointed out that despite Pope Francis' directive, priests convicted of abuse continue to be active within the church. 

A case in point is priest Vidmantas Gareckas, who was convicted of molesting two first-graders but continues to serve in several parishes. 

The church, however, has imposed restrictions on his direct contact with children, a move that remains in stark contrast to sanctions that prevent him from working with children in schools.

Unveiling Cases of Clerical Fraud

Apart from the cases of child abuse, the investigation also uncovered instances of clerical fraud, with at least three priests accused of defrauding elderly individuals. 

The church leadership, it appears, only reacts to these crimes once they become public knowledge, contradicting their claims of being unaware of such incidents.

Findings Suggest a Discrepancy

The investigative journalists' findings suggest a gap between the church's stated policies and their actual practices, especially regarding the handling of abuse and fraud cases. 

The church's secrecy and the continued service of convicted priests, despite the Pope's directive, raise questions about its commitment to addressing these issues and protecting its flock.