Raping children is not too serious a crime according to the pope.


Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy

Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question.

One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope’s clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him, The Associated Press has learned.

The Inzoli case is one of several in which Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.

In some cases, the priests or their high-ranking friends appealed to Francis for clemency by citing the pope’s own words about mercy in their petitions, the church official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are confidential.

“With all this emphasis on mercy … he is creating the environment for such initiatives,” the church official said, adding that clemency petitions were rarely granted by Pope Benedict XVI, who launched a tough crackdown during his 2005-2013 papacy and defrocked some 800 priests who raped and molested children.

At the same time, Francis also ordered three longtime staffers at the congregation dismissed, two of whom worked for the discipline section that handles sex abuse cases, the lawyers and church official said.

One is the head of the section and will be replaced before leaving March 31. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the others too will be replaced and that staffing in the office, which has a yearslong backlog of cases, would be strengthened after Francis recently approved hiring more officials.

“The speed with which cases are handled is a serious matter and the Holy Father continues to encourage improvements in this area,” Burke told AP.

He also dispelled rumors that sex-abuse cases would no longer be handled by the congregation, saying the strengthened office would handle all cases submitted.

Burke said Francis’ emphasis on mercy applied to “even those who are guilty of heinous crimes.” He said priests who abuse are permanently removed from ministry, but are not necessarily dismissed from the clerical state, the church term for laicization or defrocking.

“The Holy Father understands that many victims and survivors can find any sign of mercy in this area difficult,” Burke said. “But he knows that the Gospel message of mercy is ultimately a source of powerful healing and of grace.”

St. John Paul II was long criticized for failing to respond to the abuse crisis, but ultimately he said in 2002 that “there is no place in the priesthood or religious life” for anyone who would harm the young. Francis has repeatedly proclaimed “zero tolerance” for abusive priests and in December wrote to the world’s bishops committing to take “all necessary measures” to protect them.

But he also recently said he believed sex abusers suffer from a “disease” — a medical term used by defense lawyers to seek mitigating factors in canonical sentences.

Marie Collins, an Irish abuse survivor and founding member of Francis’ sex-abuse advisory commission, expressed dismay that the congregation’s recommended penalties were being weakened and said abusers are never so sick that they don’t know what they’re doing.

“All who abuse have made a conscious decision to do so,” Collins told AP. “Even those who are pedophiles, experts will tell you, are still responsible for their actions. They can resist their inclinations.”

Victim advocates have long questioned Francis’ commitment to continuing Benedict’s tough line, given he had no experience dealing with abusive priests or their victims in his native Argentina. While Francis counts Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley as his top adviser on abuse, he has also surrounded himself with cardinal advisers who botched handling abuse cases in their archdioceses.

“They are not having zero tolerance,” said Rocio Figueroa, a former Vatican official and ex-member of the Peru-based Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a conservative Catholic lay society rocked by sex scandals. The Vatican recently handed down sanctions against the group’s founder after determining that he sexually, psychologically and physically abused his recruits. His victims, however, are enraged that it took the Vatican six years to decide that the founder should be isolated, but not expelled, from the community.

The church official stressed that to his knowledge, none of Francis’ reduced sentences had put children at risk.

Many canon lawyers and church authorities argue that defrocking pedophiles can put society at greater risk because the church no longer exerts any control over them. They argue that keeping the men in restricted ministry, away from children, at least enables superiors to exert some degree of supervision.

But Collins said the church must also take into account the message that reduced canonical sentences sends to both survivors and abusers.

“While mercy is important, justice for all parties is equally important,” Collins said in an email. “If there is seen to be any weakness about proper penalties, then it might well send the wrong message to those who would abuse.”

It can also come back to embarrass the church. Take for example the case of Inzoli, a well-connected Italian priest who was found guilty by the Vatican in 2012 of abusing young boys and ordered defrocked.

Inzoli appealed and in 2014 Francis reduced the penalty to a lifetime of prayer, prohibiting him from celebrating Mass in public or being near children, barring him from his diocese and ordering five years of psychotherapy.

In a statement announcing Francis’ decision to reduce the sentence, Crema Bishop Oscar Cantoni said “no misery is so profound, no sin so terrible that mercy cannot be applied.”

In November, an Italian criminal judge showed little mercy in convicting Inzoli of abusing five children, aged 12-16, and sentencing him to four years, nine months in prison. The judge said Inzoli had a number of other victims but their cases fell outside the statute of limitations.

Burke disclosed to AP that the Vatican recently initiated a new canonical trial against Inzoli based on “new elements” that had come to light. He declined to elaborate.

Amid questions about how the battle against abuse was faring, Francis recently named O’Malley, who heads his sex-abuse advisory commission, as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But it’s not clear what influence he can wield from his home base in Boston.

Francis scrapped the commission’s proposed tribunal for bishops who botch abuse cases following legal objections from the congregation. The commission’s other major initiative — a guideline template to help dioceses develop policies to fight abuse and safeguard children — is gathering dust. The Vatican never sent the template to bishops’ conferences, as the commission had sought, or even linked it to its main abuse-resource website.


Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield


13 thoughts on “Raping children is not too serious a crime according to the pope.

  1. McBrolloks, jy kan seker die geveg wat ons met die kreasionis, Martin Bredenkamp op die blog “Prometheusongebonde” gehad het. Nogal ‘n PhD in Chemie verbonde aan die Universitiet van Stellenbosch daardie tyd. Laasgenoemde het hom gelukkig uitgeskop toe hulle agterkom hy is ‘n wolf in skaapklere. Hy het toe verkas, as ek reg kan onthou, na die Ooste waar hy seker sy stront voortgesit het. (Gelukkig is diè mense alles behalwe Bible-thumpers so hy het seker maar ‘n moeilike tyd.)

    In elk geval, ek lees gereeld ‘n baie interessante blog (verwysing hier onder) en kom toe toevallig op sy edele Martin Bredenkamp af. Hier probeer hy weer “bewys” dat evolusie nonsense is en dat Liewe Jesus alles gemaak het. Die antwoord op sy relaas is so treffend, ek moet dit meedeel.

    Net ‘n kort uittreksel:

    “PDH [pyruvate dehydrogenase] probably arose from a series of enzymes required for synthesizing branched chain amino acids. This is explained in most biochemistry textbooks but I understand why you don’t know this. It’s because creationists never read science textbooks—they prefer to just make things up.”

    Nodeloos om te sê ou Martin het die aftog geblaas sonder om weer daar te post.



  2. Ek is seker as ou Martin sy verskyning op McBrolloks gaan maak, jy hom met die “Poepol van die week” titel sal bekroon.

    Kom nou, Kletterkoppie, kyk of jy jou bloedbroer kan opspoor en nooi hom uit na McBrolloks.


  3. Wat ek lees in Koel diek se geaparafiseer op godsdiens is dat lyk my die akademiese stand of prestasie nie jou “wereld beskouing” bepaal nie, of jy nou slim of dom of blind is die “wêreld beskouing” hang af van jou metafisiese posisie

    En die metafisiese posisie hang af van wat jy maak van waaroor gaan die heelal die lewe en alles, nou as ek kyk na atijoote dan wys hulle my dat hulle geloof het in die ander wetenskaplikes wat al die dinge gaan ontrafel en dat die ander gelowe wat nie deur die wetenskap kan bewys word nie aangeval en bespot moet word

    Soos Koel Diek skryf dat hy is trots op sy “wereld beskouing” en wat is “trots”? torts, trots is ‘n ego “enhancer”, dis hoekom hy nou die aanhaling gekopie en pyst het van die “interessante” blog wat hy nou gereeld besoek, hy wil ook seker bietjie “brag” oor sy akademiese stand en probeer voorgee dat hy “beyond” ander mense se intelligensie is, as hy dit kan verstaan hoe is dit moontlik dat hy geen idee het van wat ek van praat nie, hy verwys daarna as snert. Hy kan nie sê hoekom nie, want hy weet nie

    En nou is die Martin ‘n “bloedbroer”, dan moet “passievol” Mad Mac seker ook ‘n bloedbroer wees van al die ander atijoote wat nou almal terug grot toe is, julle behoort mos aan dieselfde kerk

    En ons wag nog vir die opvolg van die “kersie vir atijoote” wat blykbaar al in 2013 uit moes gewees het of het hy uitgehardloop uit aanhalings van ander wetenskaplikes, soos dink vir jouself en daai ander woord kritiese analise.



  4. En soos die dae verby gaan
    en die water onderdeur vloei
    sit die atijoote in hul grotte bietjie bang om iets te sê
    al die trieks wat hulle al van gehoor het is uit gespeel
    en hul voorgee is ontbloot
    in hul verbeelding het hulle ‘n huis gebou
    vol wyshede oral opgetel
    in hul gedagte wêreld staan hulle sterk
    vol dogma’s en wapentuig
    maar binne in is dit ook maar onseker
    gaan die “wall” hou
    gaan die “wall” verkrummel
    smurk dit af as tabak en staan sterk
    onkunde is bliss
    maar die illusie van kennis dra ook maar swaar


  5. Ek sien nou dit ateïste nou ook ‘n “Republiek van Ateïsme” geskep het met hulle eie ken teken wat bestaan uit ‘n beeld van ‘n leeu wat op sy agterpote staan en aan die ander kant staan daar ‘n bok ook op sy agterpote en tussen die 2 is daar ‘n sirkel.

    Nou ek is nie seker wat al die simbole beteken nie, maar leeu verteenwoordig altyd “sterk” dink ek en die bok seker voedsel voorsiening of prooi, ek weet nie wat was die ateïste se idee nie, maar tussen die 2 diere is daar nou die sirkel met niks in nie, sover ek weet kan ‘n sirkel se grootste eienskap gesien word as “oneindig” en omdat die sirkel leeg is kan dit dalk beteken dat die ateïste vir ewig om en om leeg gaan wees en dis nogal vir my sinvol. ‘n Nul op ‘n kontrak as dit kom by die metafisiese en hulle is nou so geïndoktrineer dat hulle trots is daarop . . ?

    Nou kom hulle ook bymekaar van verskillende lande om seker die voortplanting simulasie dryfveer oor grense te toets, die leeu en die prooi

    Nou die atijoote op die blad wat in hul grotte sit en pasifiseer op godsdiens sal niks van die Republiek weet nie, want hulle slaap



  6. Ek was toe verkeerd met die simbool v/d Republiek van ateïsme aan die een kant is ‘n leeu, maar aan die anderkant is ‘n perd wat ook so regop staan op sy agter pote, 2 baei sterk simbole want krag en spoed (ek veornderstel die perd is daar om weg te hardloop soos jull weet wie)
    ek het toe die republiek van ateïsme so paar vrae begin vra en dit was baie gou duidelik dat hulle al dieselfde ou tegnieke gebruik om hul geloof te beskerm ek kon net sowel met julle gepraat het, dis ‘n karbin kopie van alles wat julle te sê het. blinde molle

    Ek gaan soek toe na wat google te sê het oor die geloofsprong en kom toe af op die stukke inligting wat baie interessant is

    Like Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, who plays an important role in the spiritual struggle for meaning on the part of the modern writer, cast off the bondage of logic and the tyranny of science. By means of the dialectic of “the leap,” he attempted to transcend both the aesthetic and the ethical stages. Completely alone, cut off from his fellow-men, the individual realizes his own nothingness as the preliminary condition for embracing the truth of God. Only when man becomes aware of his own non-entity — an experience that is purely subjective and incommunicable — does he recover his real self and stand in the presence of God. This is the mystique which has been rediscovered by twentieth-century man, the leap from outwardness to inwardness, from rationalism to subjectivity, the revelation, that is ineffable, of the reality of the Absolute.

    Maar nou ja julle moet nou maar lekker verder slaap zzzzzz


  7. Johannie

    Waarvan praat jy tog? Jy sal my op hoogte moet hou. Na watse “Republiek van ateismre” jy.

    Lekker dag.

    NS. Kan jy nou darem jou spook bewys?


    • Ja hulle is op BB (bakiesblad/fb) – Atheist republic – en hulle is besig om mense se vrae te beantwoord, maar ek dink hulle wil eintlik netnaaioorgrense heen, hulle is self stjoepiter as julle


  8. Werner Heisenberg
    “The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.” 3

    I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language. 4

    Of course, we all know that our own reality depends on the structure of our consciousness; we can objectify no more than a small part of our world. But even when we try to probe into the subjective realm, we cannot ignore the central order…In the final analysis, the central order, or ‘the one’ as it used to be called and with which we commune in the language of religion, must win out.

    Sir James Hopwood Jeans
    Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as a creator and governor of the realm of matter… 5

    The tendency of modern physics is to resolve the whole material universe into waves, and nothing but waves. These waves are of two kinds: bottled-up waves, which we call matter, and unbottled waves, which we call radiation or light. If annihilation of matter occurs, the process is merely that of unbottling imprisoned wave-energy and setting it free to travel through space. These concepts reduce the whole universe to a world of light, potential or existent, so that the whole story of its creation can be told with perfect accuracy and completeness in the six words: ‘God said, Let there be light’.

    Bernard d’Espagnat
    “The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment.”

    Martin Rees
    In the beginning there were only probabilities. The universe could only come into existence if someone observed it.

    Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions (1988), p. 18
    What philosophical conclusions should we draw from the abstract style of the superstring theory? We might conclude, as Sir James Jeans concluded long ago, that the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a Pure Mathematician, and that if we work hard enough at mathematics we shall be able to read his mind. Or we might conclude that our pursuit of abstractions is leading us far away from those parts of the creation which are most interesting from a human point of view. It is too early yet to come to conclusions.

    Physicists, especially the physicists of small things and microcosmic states, see matter and energy vanishing, virtual particles popping in and out of apparently ‘nothing’ and the indeterminacy of any material state. Some are beginning to see that information, that exists but has zero mass and carries zero energy, and therefore not material at all, is primary over both matter and energy and may even give rise to them. 6

    What is energy? In physics, energy is the property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object

    Wiki describes energy as ” property” . Why is energy not simply the ‘ force ‘ of Gods word in action? they talk about an object. But matter is not an object. matter is energy…. 2

    W.L.Craig: The quantum vacuum is not what most people envision when they think of a vacuum-that is, absolutely nothing. On the contrary, it’s a sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws.

    Space Is Not Empty, It’s Actually Full of Energy: The Quantum Vacuum

    Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating, each one radiating its own unique energy signature. This is also known as “the Vacuum” or “The Zero-Point Field.”

    “A century from now, it will be well known that: the vacuum of space which fills the universe is itself the real substratum of the universe; vacuum in a circulating state becomes matter; the electron is the fundamental particle of matter and is a vortex of vacuum with a vacuum-less void at the center and it is dynamically stable; the speed of light relative to vacuum is the maximum speed that nature has provided and is an inherent property of the vacuum; vacuum is a subtle fluid unknown in material media; vacuum is mass-less, continuous, non viscous, and incompressible and is responsible for all the properties of matter; and that vacuum has always existed and will exist forever….Then scientists, engineers and philosophers will bend their heads in shame knowing that modern science ignored the vacuum in our chase to discover reality for more than a century.”

    At the turn of the nineteenth century, physicists started to explore the relationship between energy and the structure of matter. In doing so, the belief that a physical, Newtonian material universe that was at the very heart of scientific knowing was dropped, and the realization that matter is nothing but an illusion replaced it. Scientists began to recognize that everything in the Universe is made out of energy. 1

    What’s even more fascinating is that the “stuff” within this space can be accessed and used. This was experimentally confirmed when The Casimir Effect illustrated zero point or vacuum state energy, which predicts that two metal plates close together attract each other due to an imbalance in the quantum fluctuations.

    Most of what we refer to as “reality” is actually something we can’t perceive with our physical senses!


  9. Kletterkoppie, geniet jy dit om met jouself te gesels? Weet jy altyd dat dit jy is wat praat of maak daardie gekletter in jou kop dit onmoontlik om onderskeid te tref?


    • Om met jou self te praat . . . .
      Die een praat en die ander een luister
      die “ek” waarmee ek identifiseer praat met my
      die masker van binne het baie neurologiese paadjies om te hardloop
      vertel my baie dinge
      maar die “Woord van God” is so skerp
      Skerper as ‘n tweesnydende swaard
      dit kloof tussen die “geïndoktrineerde verlede” en die liggaam en die gees
      en ontmasker die masker
      die “ego”/ masker / geïndoktrineerde verlede sal nie opgee sonder ‘n geveg nie
      gebruik sommer “ander” wetenskaplikes se uitvindsels
      om ‘n vals realiteit te skep
      materie kan mos geklap en geskop word
      bietjie primitief, maar dis sand om op te bou

      As mens nou al so ver weg is soos Koel Diek kan dit moeilik wees om weer terug te kom op die pad, want daai stemmetjie het al al die deure bewaak met net nog ‘n slim cliché, wat dit laat ervaar asof daar geen manier uit is nie, ‘n gevange in jou eie kop

      En hoekom lag mense volgens Darwin se teorie omdat 2 teenstrydige gedagtes die bewussyn binne gaan en dissonansie word afgeweer deur fisies ‘n “piss grill” te doen

      Mens is dom as jy daai stemmetjie in jou kop glo


  10. Wonder wat sê daai gatkruiper oor sy swart boeties en sussies wat die treine afbrand daar in die kaap en net al die land wat “ons” van hulle gesteel het wil terug vat, al wat sy “by wie hy gatkruip” nodig het is sink plate en spykers en gesteelde hamers en massas wat soos skape volg en boem daar het jy jou eie grond en al die probleme is opgelos

    Wat noem mensie iemand by wie gat gekruip word, gatkruipjee . . ?


  11. En al wat ‘n staatsdiens is is nou in ‘n haglike toestand, danksy Malherbe se swart boeties en sussies, wat tot die inkomste diens op gegf*k het, nie asof Jan taks iets verkoop nie, al wat hulle hoef te doen is om geld in te samel en dan neuk hulle dit ook op, en ‘n bank Vbs, jy stig ‘n bank om te steel v/d mense wie jy gebruik om vir jou te stem . . . .?, maar nou ja almal weet wat die probleem is, maar daar skyn geen oplossing te wees nie.

    Dan gaan die atijoote aan “dere ies nou gods”, dit begin al meer klink soos die “7 dae by die Sylbersteins”, nie dat ek dit verstaan nie, dis nou die boek, al wat ek weet is dat die mense almal “maskers” gedra het en vir ‘n klompie dae hul self kon ekspres sonder nagevolge en die een ou wat vertel dat hy “spu” in die wyn en stuur dit dan saam met sy wyn die hele wêreld vol, wat in die moffie taal beteken ejakulasie, die spoegery

    Dit laat my wonder of julle nog lewe, en of Adriaan al uit sy hel houl geklim het wat net in sy kop woed


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