New accusations of sexual abuse against Jesuits in Bolivia

BY Julieta Villar

Following the publication of a report by the Spanish newspaper El País that documented the serial sexual abuse of 89 victims committed in Bolivia by a Jesuit priest, new accusations have been made against other priests.

The scandal came to light when the nephew of the deceased Spanish Jesuit priest, Alfonso Pedrajas Moreno, found a diary among his personal effects that reveals the acts of abuse. The diary also showed that the Jesuit authorities were aware of the abuse and covered it up.

Both the Society of Jesus and the Bolivian government are pursuing the new cases.

In the last week, a complaint of abuse and rape was filed with the Bolivian public prosecutor’s office against Jesuit Father Luis María Roma Padrosa while Archbishop Alejandro Mestre, also a Jesuit, was accused of sexual abuse in a second complaint.

Both complaints were filed by former Jesuit provincial Osvaldo Chirveches.

“There are two cases that we had already investigated, we have already received the response from the General Curia and we have already published the results,” Chirveches explained. The next step is for the prosecutor’s office to work with the material from these investigations.

Mestre, who died in 1988, was secretary general of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference in the 1980s, auxiliary bishop of Sucre (1976–1982), and later coadjutor archbishop of the capital La Paz (1986–1987).

The case against Roma came to light in 2019 through an investigation by the Spanish EFE news agency.

Although the number of victims is not known, Roma was accused of abusing minors between the ages of 7 and 12 in the town of Charagua, in eastern Bolivia. The complaint was supported by photographic records that were owned by the priest.

According to the Bolivian newspaper Página Siete (Page Seven), the case wasn’t reported to the public prosecutor’s office for four years: ”Neither the Church nor the State launched a public investigation or judicial proceedings.”

The Jesuits in Bolivia issued a statement May 14 detailing the steps taken in Roma’s case following the allegations presented to them in February 2019 by an EFE agency journalist.

The Society of Jesus stated that after receiving the photographic material now in the hands of the public prosecutor’s office — a preliminary investigation was initiated and an investigative commission was formed that decided to suspend the accused from the public exercise of the priestly ministry and remove him from all contact with minors.

The investigative commission conducted interviews, inspections, reviewed documents, and had a psychiatric evaluation performed. It also provided a format to hear possible complaints from victims, but none were received.

Once the investigation was completed, the final report was sent along with all the documentation to the General Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome for study and consultation with the Congregation (now the Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In September 2022, the plausibility of the allegations was determined.

To date, the Jesuits explained, no complaints or testimonies from victims in the Roma case have been received, and so they reiterated the request to those who may have information about the case to file the complaint with the public prosecutor’s office.

The Jesuits also expressed their availability to care for the victims and provide the necessary accompaniment.

Role of the Bolivian government

In a press conference, the attorney general of the State of Bolivia, Juan Lanchipa, acknowledged that eight complaints have been received. Besides Pedrajas, Roma, and Mestre, the Jesuits Luis Tó and Antonio Gausset were named.

The attorney general reported that all cases deal with accusations of sexual abuse and expressed his concern about the “negligence that this Catholic organization has had by not reporting these incidents in a timely manner” and not providing protection to the accused.

For his part, the general prosecutor of Bolivia, Wilfredo Chávez, said that “there is a duty to history and to the victims” to investigate sexual abuse committed by clergymen and the “systematic cover-up.”

The Bolivian attorney general’s office has recently requested the collaboration of the Spanish state attorney general’s office to dig deeper into the investigation. This is because in Bolivia the statute of limitations for crimes has not expired, and “the Inter-American Court has determined that, in these cases, rape is equivalent to crimes against humanity.”

What is sought with this collaboration is to be able to have access to the investigative material obtained by El País through the nephew of Pedrajas and even to the diary itself, where the priest acknowledged the abuse.

The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, condemned what has taken place, called for “severely punishing” cases of pedophilia in the Jesuit order and urged “all agencies required by law to investigate.”

Complete Article HERE!

‘What did the pope know?’

— Poles divided over John Paul II abuse cover-up claims

A picture of Pope John Paul II projected onto the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland in March.

Legacy of Karol Wojtyła under scrutiny as Poland comes to terms with scale of sexual abuse in Catholic church

By and Katarzyna Piasecka

With under six months to go before a parliamentary election that is expected to be closely fought, a surprise figure has entered the Polish political field, despite the fact he died in 2005: Pope John Paul II.

The legacy of John Paul II, who was born Karol Wojtyła and was archbishop of Kraków before becoming pope in 1978, is under scrutiny after a recent book and television documentary accused him of covering up for paedophile priests before he became pontiff.

Poland, historically staunchly Catholic, has slowly been coming to terms with the scale of historical sexual abuse in the church, but until recently the figure of John Paul II, whom many Poles revere for his role in the ending of communist rule in the country, has remained untouchable.

That convention has been upturned by allegations in a documentary aired on Polish television station TVN earlier this year, and a concurrent book by the Dutch journalist Ekke Overbeek, who has lived in Poland for more than two decades and written extensively on child abuse in the Polish church.

Activists hold a banner reading ‘Catholic Church Guilty’ during a protest in Krakow in March against members of the Catholic hierarchy, including Pope John Paul II, accusing them of covering up sex abuse.
Activists hold a banner reading ‘Catholic Church Guilty’ during a protest in Krakow in March against members of the Catholic hierarchy, including Pope John Paul II, accusing them of covering up sex abuse.

Overbeek said he found documents in the archives of the communist-era security services that prove beyond doubt that the sexual abuse of children by priests was an issue during Wojtyła’s tenure as archbishop of Kraków, and that the future pope helped to cover it up.

“It’s obvious from the documents that he knew about the abuse. He reacted to it by allowing the priests to continue their ministry. He was very forgiving towards the priests, whereas no evidence shows that he ever gave attention to the victims,” said Overbeek, in an interview at a Warsaw cafe.

The response to the allegations has been one of denial and fury. Two public events to promote the book were cancelled by the publishers, citing security fears after a sustained campaign against Overbeek in government media.

In the Polish parliament, the Sejm, MPs from the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party arrived for a session in March holding photographs of the late pope, and passed a resolution to defend his name.

“The Sejm … strongly condemns the shameful media campaign, based largely on the materials of the communist apparatus of violence, whose object is the Great Pope – Saint John Paul II, the greatest Pole in history,” the resolution read.

Pope John Paul II waving to a crowd at the end of a holy mass in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz in June 1999
Pope John Paul II waving to a crowd at the end of a holy mass in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz in June 1999.

Wojtyła was born in the town of Wadowice in 1920; he was ordained in 1946 and made archbishop of Kraków in the early 1960s. He would become the first non-Italian pope for more than four centuries, and made several visits back to Poland as pontiff. He was widely credited with galvanising opposition to communist rule and continued as pope until his death in 2005.

“I was very upset when I watched the documentary,” said Sławomir Abramowski, the 58-year-old priest in charge of a parish named after John Paul II in Bemowo, a neighbourhood of Warsaw. The church was built shortly after the church canonised John Paul II in 2014, and has a portrait of the late pope close to the altar no smaller than the images of Jesus.

The documentary used a “crude manipulation of the facts” to smear John Paul II, said Abramowski, who credited the late pope with inspiring him to join the church in the early 1990s, after he had trained as a doctor.

Among his congregation on a recent Sunday, when the church was full for mass and worshippers listened via speakers in an overflow area outside, there was a mood of defiance.

Kamila, a 38-year-old woman carrying a baby, claimed John Paul II was a “huge opponent of paedophilia” and said the accusations were political. The aim of this game is to discourage people from going to church, to destroy Polish identity and to repel people from family values.”

Barbara, a 70-year-old worshipper, said it was unfair to make accusations against someone who was dead and thus could not defend himself. “The ones who accused him should think about their conscience. I think they might have had problems in their childhood and have been doing this to boost their deficient self-worth,” she said.

This strength of feeling helps explain why PiS have seized on the topic, before parliamentary elections in October that are delicately poised. A PiS-led coalition has ruled Poland since 2015, and draws much of its support from a rural, staunchly Catholic electorate.

Mateusz Klinowski, the former mayor of Wojtyła’s hometown, Wadowice, and an outspoken critic of the church, said he had no doubt the allegations against John Paul II were true.

“Among educated people, it’s been obvious for a long time that he was covering it up, but of course for politicians it’s a sweet piece of cake for preparing their campaigns,” he said.

Jacek Karnowski, the editor-in-chief of the pro-government Sieci magazine, said he expected the pope’s legacy to be one of three key issues the government would focus on in the upcoming election campaign, along with cost of living and the war in Ukraine.

They know that on the abortion issue, the majority is against them so they stay silent. But 74% of Poles say John Paul II is an authority so this is very fertile ground for the government,” he said.

In early April, thousands of people joined marches in Warsaw and other cities to defend the pope’s name, including the defence minister and the head of the constitutional court.

Thousands of people marching through Warsaw to commemorate Pope John Paul II
Thousands of people marching through Warsaw to commemorate Pope John Paul II in April.

Karnowski claimed the whole scandal had been part of a “political attack” on John Paul II coordinated by the liberal opposition to PiS, but others say that the opposition has been blindsided by the allegations and is trying to stay neutral, aware of how sensitive the issue is. A poll also showed that nearly half of Poles said they would not want to hear allegations against John Paul II even if they were true.

Even the editor-in-chief of Wyborcza, Poland’s leading liberal newspaper, has said it would be wrong to discredit the Pope’s historical role. “Wojtyła was a child of his time. And what is obvious to us today was not obvious 40 years ago,” said Adam Michnik, in an interview published in his own newspaper.

John Paul II’s papacy, which lasted more than a quarter of a century, coincided with the first public scandals about sexual abuse in the Catholic church, which have since broken in numerous countries. Often, culprits were simply moved to different parishes rather than banned from practicing or reported to police.

“Ever since these scandals broke, the question has always been ‘How much did the pope know?’” said Overbeek. “The answer was in Poland, and now we have the answer. He was aware of this issue from the very beginning.”

It is a conclusion that a lot of people in Poland don’t want to hear, fearing the accusations could undermine John Paul II’s role as part of Polish history and his reputation as one of the key figures in the defeat of communism.

“Poland doesn’t have many recent characters we can use as role models. That’s why people are so eager to defend him,” said Klinowski.

Complete Article HERE!

Bolivian bishop calls for ‘optional’ priestly celibacy following clerical pederasty scandal

Bishop Eugenio Cóter

By Simon Caldwell

A South American bishop has called for “optional celibacy” for priests in the wake of revelations that a gay Jesuit missionary sexually abused about 85 boys.

Bishop Eugenio Cóter suggested the rule of priestly celibacy contributed to the abuse of scores of adolescents by Fr Alfonso Pedrajas, a Spanish priest who died in 2009, and said that “changes must be made” in the Church.

A sexual relationship allows for “an integration of the affective, sexual, bodily dimension”, the Bishop of Pando and head of the Communication Commission of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference told Erbol radio.

He said an end to compulsory celibacy could be a “helpful element” in preventing sexual abuse by the clergy in cases where there were “no predispositions”.

His remarks will inevitably cause controversy because they implicitly endorse same-sex sexual relationships given that Fr Pedrajas was an actively gay man who spent the last four years of his life with his boyfriend.

In support of his argument, according to Catholic News Agency, Bishop Cóter alluded to debates that took place on celibacy within the framework of the 2019 Amazon Synod.

He also referred to the controversial German Synodal Way, which in March backed the ordination of women as deaconesses, the blessing of homosexual unions, and the normalisation of lay preaching at Mass, among other proposed innovations.

Bishop Cóter said: “So it is a subject that is there on the table for reflection that will arrive in Rome in October, with the bishops, the delegates of the bishops of the world in this synodal path that is taking place.”

The abuse crimes perpetrated over decades by Fr Pedrajas came to light after his lover sent a DVD of computer files to the missionary’s brother, who printed them out and kept them in a box.

The priest’s nephew found the diary in the attic and took them to El Pais, the Spanish national newspaper, which published them last month as the “Diary of a Paedophile Priest”.

Fr Pedrajas, who spent most of his life working at a secondary school for children of poor families, where he was known as “Padre Pica”, admits in his writings that “my biggest personal failure [was] without a doubt the pederasty”, which he said began in 1964, and that “I hurt so many people (85?). Too many.”

The revelations have prompted a national investigation in Bolivia and sanctions against eight Jesuits who allegedly knew of abuse but covered it up.

Father Pedrajas’s diary “recounts how the Jesuit order, including at least seven provincial superiors and a dozen Bolivian and Spanish clergymen, covered up his crimes, along with the complaints of several victims”, according to El Pais.

Father Bernardo Mercado, the Jesuit Bolivian provincial, has suspended his predecessors as the investigation gets under way.

El País also said that the late Father José Arroyo, SJ, a priest who assisted in the formation of the future Pope Francis, prepared Fr Pedrajas for his tertianship in 1978 and downplayed the gravity of his abuse when the priest confessed his sins to him.

In his notes on his conversations with his superior Fr Pedrajas makes such statements as: “I shouldn’t feel like a repentant sinner” … “nothing is going to happen to me” … “[these are] isolated cases”.

Priestly celibacy is a discipline of the Latin Church which has emerged from hundreds of years of tradition. It can be changed, though the popes, including Francis, have shown no inclination to do so.

Complete Article HERE!

‘They are all still at large’

— Clergy abuse survivors call for suspensions, release of names after investigative articles

Members of Maryland’s chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests held a news conference on May 8, 2023 outside of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

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Following investigative news stories that lifted the veil of secrecy from a Maryland Attorney General’s report on clergy child sex abuse, survivors gathered Monday outside the Archdiocese of Baltimore offices to demand that five church officials be removed from the ministry and seven other priests be named.

David Lorenz and other members of Maryland’s chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests also called on Baltimore Archbishop William Lori to resign, but acknowledged that is unlikely to happen unless parishioners pressure the church for more accountability.

The group held the news conference in response to articles published last week in The Baltimore Sun and The Baltimore Banner that identified church officials and accused priests whose names were redacted from the attorney general’s report on child sex abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The 456-page grand jury report was released last month and details decades of abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic Church. The report identifies 158 priests, most of them already known, within the archdiocese accused of the “sexual abuse” and “physical torture” of more than 600 victims over the past 80 years.

Redacted from the report are the names of five church officials who handled the allegations of abuse, as well as 10 clergy members who are presumed alive and not widely known to have been accused. Their names were redacted for procedural reasons; the investigation was conducted through a grand jury, which is confidential under state law.

At the press conference, Lorenz read out the names of three abusers and five officials whose names have been unmasked. The Rev. Samuel Lupico, the Rev. Joseph O’Meara and the Rev. John Peter Krzyanski are the three priests whose names were made public in a Banner story. “They are all still at large. They are out there. And now that we know those names, children are no longer in harm’s way — in as much harm’s way,” Lorenz said.

But seven priests’ names still remain redacted, and the survivors called for the archdiocese to make those names known.

“They could be out there at schools or placed next to schools or playgrounds, and no one is any the wiser that these are abusive people,” he said. “They are capable of releasing those names. They could have released those names years ago.”

The five officials are the Most Revs. Richard Woy, G. Michael Schleupner, J. Bruce Jarboe, George B. Moeller and W. Francis Malooly, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington. Malooly’s identification was made by Terry McKiernan, the founder of, a Massachusetts nonprofit that collects documents related to clergy sexual abuse cases, and published by The Banner and The Sun.

The report blamed much of the coverup on those five, particularly Malooly (identified as Official C) and Woy (identified as Official B) in the report. The two clergy are mentioned more than any other of the officials as taking roles in the cover-up of clergy abuse.

Malooly retired in 2021 as bishop of Wilmington and previously served as auxiliary bishop of Baltimore. The report shows Malooly handled allegations of abuse in Baltimore for roughly two decades and failed to report some cases to authorities.

Addressing news reporters Monday, Lorenz urged Archbishop Lori to step in amd remove the five from active ministry. “They were driven and motivated purely for protecting the institution and the priests who were abusers. Lori has known about them, and yet he keeps them on. … and they still minister in parishes,” Lorenz said.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese did not respond to a request for comment on the abuse survivors’ demands.

The fallout from the news stories has already begun. Woy resigned from the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center’s board of directors on Friday.

Mary Ann Hodes, a spokesperson for the Towson hospital, said Monday the board had accepted Woy’s resignation. Woy currently serves as pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Crofton, but he previously served the archdiocese as vicar general, chancellor, director of the office of child and youth protection, and director of clergy personnel.

Woy was appointed to the medical center’s board by Lori. In the 1990s, Woy handled abuse allegations made against the Rev. Joseph Maskell, a subject of the 2017 Netflix documentary series “The Keepers.” The archdiocese moved Maskell from one parish to another after parents reported his inappropriate behavior with children. He ended up at the all-girls Archbishop Keough High School. At least 39 people have reported that they or others they know were sexually abused by Maskell, according to the report. Maskell was placed on administrative leave and resigned in 1994, before moving to Ireland.

Bracing for negative publicity following the series’ release in 2017, the medical center board’s chairman at the time, former state Senator Francis X. Kelly, sought to oust Woy. He failed because Lori intervened, writing in a letter at the time that Woy had his “unqualified support” and was “known for his tough stance on child abuse.”

The group of survivors said Lori must go because he is allowing priests who covered up the crimes to remain in ministry. “It is time for him to step aside and be removed. And he should not be granted the golden parachute. It needs to send a message to all the other officials, that if you allow these enablers in your parishes, then then you will be brought to justice, right?” Lorenz said.

Lorenz thanked reporters from The Sun and The Banner for the investigations that unveiled the names. The rival news organizations, he said, had together worked “to help protect Maryland children.”

Attorney General Anthony Brown has said his office will return to court and argue for all the names to be released.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Robert Taylor Jr. has sealed the proceedings and arguments over the redactions are to continue behind closed doors. The issue of the hidden names has provoked finger-pointing between the church and the attorney general’s office. Last month, Brown said the archdiocese may “legally release those names to the public at any moment.” The attorney general’s office said it redacted the names to head off any argument that the full report should not be released.

The archdiocese has taken a position that it’s bound by the court from releasing the names. The attorney general’s office disputes that position.

Frank Schindler, 72, one of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse, spoke at the news conference about the perpetrators as well as the people who are protecting them in the Catholic church. Schindler said the systemic coverup of sexual abuse must be addressed.

”Hopefully, we will get the rest of those names out,” said Schindler, a clinical psychologist who lives in Canton. “Hopefully, we will make those kinds of changes.”

That’s one reason, he said, that survivors feel Lori needs to resign. He’s repeatedly stated that “this is a thing of the past,” Schindler said.

”At the exact same time, he refuses to release the names of perpetrators and those who protect perpetrators,” Schindler said. “I don’t consider that to be a very honest moral stance from somebody who’s supposed to assume the moral leadership of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”

Complete Article HERE!

French Catholic Church to provide clergy with scannable IDs to battle sexual abuse

French bishop Francois Jacolin (C) leads a mass in the Cathedral of Lucon, western France, on March 14, 2021, organised after the unveiling ceremony of a plaque in tribute to children victims of sexual abuse by priests.


Rattled by repeated cases of sexual abuse over the years, the French Catholic Church will soon provide digital ID cards with scannable QR codes that will offer colour-coded background information – ranging from green to orange to red – on bishops, priests and deacons. But the new measure is raising eyebrows.

Old sins cast long shadows. After centuries of secrecy, the French Bishop’s Conference (CEF) has decided it will be more transparent by equipping priests, bishops and deacons with digital, scannable identification cards. No bigger than a bankcard, the IDs will certify whether or not its holder is fit to perform a sermon or has the right to hear confession.

Essentially, the cards identify whether or not the Church member is facing a sexual abuse charge.

When the announcement dropped on Wednesday 10 May, it sparked a mini revolution within the French Catholic Church. The bishop of Troyes, a town in eastern France, called it a “cultural shift”.

« Confrontée à des affaires de violences sexuelles, l’Église de France numérise d’ici la fin de l’année les documents d’identité professionnelle des évêques, des prêtres et des diacres, pour les empêcher de célébrer en cas de sanction. » — Agir pour notre Église (@AgirNotreEglise) May 10, 2023

“Faced with cases of sexual violence, the Church of France is digitising the professional identity documents of bishops, priests and deacons by the end of the year, to prevent them from celebrating in case of sanction.”

By simply scanning a QR code on these IDs, anyone can access colour-coded information on a clergy member. Green means there are no restrictions on them leading a mass or hearing confession. Orange indicates that some restrictions are in place, but not necessarily that the clergy member is an abuser (for example, a young priest may have been recently ordained and is not yet qualified to lead mass or confession). Red is reserved for someone who can no longer preach or practice, or that they have been stripped of clerical status – but the nature of the sanction isn’t specified.

An outdated paper version

An ID card for bishops, priests and deacons isn’t an entirely new idea. French Catholic Church clergy have always had what’s called a “celebret”, a paper document certifying their profession. But French bishops deemed the system “too easily falsifiable … and complicated to update”, so have now opted for a digital version.

French bishops first decided to use the new cards during a 2021 conference following a damning report published by the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (Ciase). “It seemed essential to see what we could change … to make the Church safer” in terms of sexual abuse, explained Alexandre Joly, a Troyes bishop and conference spokesperson, at a press briefing.

The measure also aims to “respect victims who can’t understand, and rightfully so, why someone who has committed serious acts can … continue to perform mass or confess”.

Christine Pedotti, who runs the Christian weekly magazine “Témoignage Chrétien” (Christian Witness), said the paper IDs “had always been used by priests while travelling, for example, to prove to another priest that they were authorised to co-lead a mass”.

“Today’s updated digital version is more modern and has a new feature that allows someone to check whether the priest has been suspended. It’s a good idea given the current context, and should prove quite useful,” she said.

Associations for victims of abuse have repeatedly condemned the French Catholic Church’s shortcomings. “Priests known as ‘gyrovagues’ – as in, suspended from their duties but who continue to present themselves as priests in religious communities – are quite common,” Pedotti noted.

The most striking example is the case of the Philippe brothers. Marie-Dominique Philippe, condemned in 1957 by the Vatican for complicity in sexual assaults, and his brother Thomas, were both able to found or co-found several religious communities and associations without a worry because the charge against Marie-Dominique had been forgotten.

“Today, bishops are expected to manage several hundred priests without really having any way of controlling them,” Pedotti said. “But the term ‘episcopal’, which comes from the Greek ‘episcopos’, means ‘guardian’ or ‘overseer’. It’s about time they were equipped with modern tools to ensure they can fulfill their responsibilities.”

One of the Church’s ‘top three most stupid ideas’

The new ID cards are not aimed at allowing churchgoers to track down clergy members, but to give “priests or laypeople in charge of a parish a tool to verify the legitimacy of each person”, Pedotti said. “The vast majority of Catholics were previously unaware that paper ID cards existed in the first place. There is little reason for them to ask for ID now.”

Organisations who represent victims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church aren’t necessarily convinced.

“It’s quite an exceptional measure which, in my opinion, is one of the Catholic Church’s top three most stupid ideas,” said François Devaux, former president of La Parole Libérée (The Liberated Word), an organisation created in 2015 by victims of former Catholic priest and paedophile Bernard Preynat.

“If we have to scan the QR codes of clergy members to reassure Catholics, it means the Church has hit a new low. It’s nothing more than a publicity stunt, and it shows the extent to which trust has been broken between the faithful and their hierarchy,” continued Devaux, who was overwhelmed by the announcement.

“This new ineptitude is a sign of the Church’s idleness. It has not understood the criticism it has faced, nor does it want to. In any case, the initiative is a far cry from the measures that were recommended in the Ciase report,” he concluded.

‘It’s just not enough’

Among the 45 recommended measures in the Ciase report, published on 5 October 2021, there is no mention of a digital ID card.

“I agree with François Devaux that this measure doesn’t address the demands made by the commission. It’s a small tool that, when compared to the scale of the problem, just isn’t enough,” said Pedotti.

“The report focuses on giving more power to laypeople, on redistributing power. On matters [of sexual abuse], the French Catholic Church has not provided a solution and did not answer this fundamental question: Why do some priests think they are Gods, to the point of thinking they can avail themselves of other people’s bodies?”

The card’s new high-tech functions also raise ethical questions. An ID card that can include information about a person’s infractions, whether a conviction for sexual abuse or other crimes, has stirred debate on social media platforms, with many seeing it as a dangerous slippery slope toward infringement of privacy.

One of many solutions

Despite the backlash, the French Catholic Church says the new tool is just one of many solutions aimed at combating sexual abuse, “to ensure that we are now in a culture of transparency and treating others well”, said Matthieu Rougé, the bishop of Nanterre, in an interview with RMC radio channel on Thursday.

“The top priority is still to support victims and to train priests.”

The French Bishop’s Conference has promised that all 18,000 priests and deacons across the country will receive their QR codes by the end of the year. Bishops have already received them.

Every diocese and religious congregation will update data concerning its bishops, priests and deacons annually. If a clergy member is subject to canonical sanction, the digital update will be immediate.

The French Catholic Church is making progress, Pedotti said, because it’s “encouraging more and more people to speak out”.

“Cases of sexual abuse still come up, but now they are being reported. The impunity they had before is changing in France. The same can’t be said of Italy or Poland, for example.”

And yet, “There is still so much to be done, both in France and around the world,” she said.

Complete Article HERE!