I’ve just read Corden’s Introduction to Canon Law. It’s a book that is well regarded by Catholics. It explains the mindset of Catholic authorities.
In summary, Catholic Canon Law is an astonishing license to abuse for Catholic child sex abusers.
It helps explains the crimes of the De La Salle Brothers and Catholic priests.
From the examples below it is offering little more than a ‘slap on the wrist’ to abusers.
Also, in one case study, it refers to ‘mild’ sexual abuse by a priest to a parishioner. It outlines remedies under Canon Law, but never informing the police.
It’s a current book yet it dismisses abuse with the statement: ‘Even ordained ministers go astray on occasion.’
‘On occasion’ ?!
I don’t think it came up at IIICSA, but it should have as it’s central to abusers’ beliefs.
It’s an Abusers Charter.
De La Salle brothers and priests could easily see it as a ‘nod and a wink’ of tacit encouragement, ‘just don’t get caught’.
If I’m missing something, I would genuinely welcome a Catholic cleric or theologian’s response which I will publish here unedited.
What astonishes me is that no one complains about these truly outrageous ‘laws’ which I know are still quoted today by laity and are thus in current use.
Some quotes follow:
Sanctions in the Church
Book Six of the Code
Even ordained ministers go astray on occasion…. Punishment is a last resort. Pastoral exhortation, kind admonition, familial correction, earnest entreaty, and even firm rebuke should all precede penalties. C1341.
Even in the application of punishments, leniency and mercy should temper the severity of a canonical penalty… In penal matters make the more benign interpretation.
Some persons may suffer a partial impairment of their … awareness and for them punishment should be reduced.e.g….those who acted in the heat of passion, while drunk, compelled by fear, under provocation.
If the person is truly sorry for the offences and seriously promises to make amends, then he or she cannot be censured. C1347
Another observer clarified the Law further:
The revised Book VI of Cannon Law defies God himself. If a priest is drunk, under the influence of drugs or if the child “tempted” him to excess, then he cannot be removed from the priesthood because his offence is “beyond his control”
As I say, I would welcome a response from a knowledgeable Catholic.
As it stands, to me and other observers it’s a document not so much of wishy-washy out of date rules, but rather an endorsement and an encouragement of pure evil.
Why aren’t Catholics demanding these laws be revised and strengthened, and acknowledged as being subordinate to the laws of the land?
Surely this is an area Catholic Safeguarding should look at?