July 15th, 2010
09:34 AM ET

Catholic Church must name abusive priests, critic insists

New Vatican new rules aimed at stopping the abuse of children by priests do not go far enough, child-safety campaigners said Thursday.

"The pope had a chance to do something really decisive that would affect the situation worldwide," said Anne Barrett Doyle, but instead issued rules that are the equivalent of "bringing a child's sand shovel to an avalanche."

The new regulations give the pope the authority to defrock a priest without a formal Vatican trial, or to hand out other punishments.

They also make it a crime for a priest to download child pornography, and declare the abuse of mentally handicapped people to be as bad as child abuse.

But Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability, wants the Vatican to do much more, including ending "secretive tribunals" of priests accused of abuse.

"The church must release lists of credibly accused priests," she said.

Naming suspected abusers "serves a public safety function," she said, and is "not only reasonable, it's absolutely crucial."

It would help victims to have abusive priests named even if they are dead, she said.

"I know a family that was utterly destroyed by the abuse of four siblings" who were all molested by the same priest, she said.

"It tore apart a devout Catholic family. Some of them are not speaking to each other," she said. "It would be of enormous help to them for the bishops just to say, 'We know there are allegations against him.'"

The new rules come in response to thousands of recent allegations of child abuse by priests in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

They deal only with how the church itself handles allegations of abuse, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

Church law already orders Catholic clergy to comply with the civil law of the country they live in if they suspect child abuse is taking place, he said.

CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said the long-awaited new guidelines make "relatively minor" changes.

"They take what is already existing practice and make it church law," he said.

He doubted they would satisfy the Vatican's critics.

"The story here is a kind of disconnect between the Vatican, which seems to think that business as usual is enough, and the rest of the world who are waiting for a dramatic symbol of change," he said.

"These revisions will likely come across to critics as the Vatican re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic."

CNN's Hada Messia and Pamela Sellers contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Church Abuse • Vatican
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Linda Roberts

    It is thought that some priests might be being frame-up while absent. Since the 50s there has been an attempt to threaten and kill witnesses of the real priests as if some were switched by kidnappings. The threats also relate to a priest's security systems that nazi/bolshevik systems hated as it prevented them from torturing students in the cloakrooms to threaten also Auschwitz concentration camps.. The nazis also threaten witnesses of Ministers. For that reason they and the KGB are thought to have gone after the Congregational Church also. The nazi/bolsheviks seem to have been trying to overthrow the Christian Faith and Churches. They also try to kill cloakroom monitors.

    July 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. unabletotrust

    The catholic church will never change until they are compelled by Law. There is an easier way "STOP DONATING TO AN ORGINAZATION THET ENABLE AND PROTECTS CHILD ABUSERS !!!!

    July 15, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • gerald

      Actually they already have unabletotrust i nthe US. See my other post.

      July 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |


      July 15, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • rolf's diary

      we complain but we pay with our tax this child rapists!!!!

      July 18, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gerald

    Nothing the Church does will ever be good enough for its detractors. The gates of hell shall not prevail however.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. unabletotrust

    Gerald , if the catholic church is such a holy orginazation then why are there victims of clergy abuse ? Anyone who disagrees with you is a detractor ? What about the victims ? What are they ? And what about the VICTIMS who did not survive how can the catholic church make this right ? I hope and pray to Almighty God that he DOES NOT HAVE MERCY ON THEIR SOULS and that the enablers and abusers wind up in the Ninth CIrcle of Hell in the 3 rd sub level in the frozen lake of 'COCYTUS' for ETERNINTY !!!!!!

    July 15, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jackie Alfirevic

    The gates of hell shall not prevail against the true church of Jesus Christ. It is made up of born again believers (as Jesus said in John 3:3). The Roman Catholic Church is a religion, made up of man-made rules, such as priests not being able to marry. NO religion or church should be above the law. NONE. There is no excuse for harboring child abusers. NONE.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David A

    Not enough? Seems like everyone wants the head of the Catholic Church to become vigilantes equipped with guns hunting down these offenders. No one should talk about the Catholic Church unless they understand it. There's more to it than elaborate dress and priests not being able to marry.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • chief

      NOT ENOUIGH.... how about doing anythiong as opposed to allowing over 10,000 pedapihles to abuse children over the years.....

      July 16, 2010 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Well said David, making a judgement on the Catholic church without truly understanding it is in itself a sin, judgement is left for God himself not us as humans,I feel for these poor souls whose lives have been torn apart from this abuse but we are no better than the abusers if we let emotions control us, seek out love and understanding for these families. I am a firm believer that "what goes around, comes around"

      July 16, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • chief

      re Karen .... its not judging when you have an opinion a organization that has had 8,000 priests convicted.. ( thats conviceted not accused ) and the same orghanization has paid out over 3 BILLION in out of court settlements ... those paid off didnt see conviction.... so NO i am better than the abuser... and your more like the abuser than me, you basically support them

      July 16, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. James Brown

    To all people attack the pope – you'll go to hell.

    July 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • chief

      i dont know if i will be able to get it.... it willbe full of catholic priests and those that harbor them by denial ... see you there

      July 17, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mona

    I am a Catholic; I am a victim; I am the daughter of two victims; I am the sister of two victims.
    I take much comfort in the fact that if there is a God, God isn't Catholic. Catholicism is just one religion among many that claims a monopoly on the Truth. On the other hand Catholicism isn't evil. There are indeed evil people in it and an infrastructure of evil protecting them. But there are good people and good priests in the Church, too. Many Catholics, like me, are trying to bring about change from within the Church community. Catholic hating just adds to the evil in the world. I encourage people to use the power of their words to bring positive energy into this conversation and positive change into the corrupt structures within the church and

    July 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • MR

      Mona- you are unreal! You say you are a victim and you are surrounded by victims in your family. You want to forgive the priests who if not checked will go ahead to make more victims! I do not mind your masochism- go ahead and enjoy it but please do not support an evil just cause you have no problems with it. No sane person can respond in the way you have done- considering that you are a victim. OR are you a fake victim or a paedophile, just posting here to support the paedophiles?

      September 22, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Barbara

    I understand the position but look at the journalism: 1/3 of this article is a reporter interviewing another reporter for that reporter's opinion. Since when is a reporter's opinion the news? We should be reading facts and forming our own opinions from real facts.

    July 20, 2010 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Teófilo de Jesús

    Though it is undeniable that the pain of the victims is real, many other detractors are jumpinto on this band wagon in order to impose their own agendas over the Church. They will not be satisfied until the Church ceases being the Church, and attainst herself to the detractors parochial views of what the Church ought to be.

    The Church, Pope Benedict, are doing OK in my book. If he doesn't make happy the detractors with their not-so-hidden agendas, well, that's not our problem.


    July 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • MR

      @Teófilo de Jesús
      Ask youself what would Jesus himself do if he came today to the earth. He would take a whip and lash all the paedophile priests as well as those in power – who have the power to stop them -but instead they just transfer the paedophile priests around – to make more victims. Jesus would protect the children. SO, Pope Benedict would be doing great ONLY if he did everything in his power to punish the paedophiles, make strict laws against paedophiles in church etc. But we know that he has a Nazi past, he is going around beatifying priests- rather than making the church holy he is defiling them by protecting the paedophile.

      September 22, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Smith in Oregon

    As the Courts here in Oregon and in other States and country's in the world press liability charges directly against Pope Ratz (formerly known as Cardinal Ratz) and The Vatican itself, other law enforcement agency's including Interpol should investigate Pope Ratz and The Vatican Bank on drug money laundering Billions of illicit funds thru The Vatican Bank, and Child Trafficking of children from parishes in South America ending up on the child slave markets in the Middle East.

    There appears to be a long running money laundering operation within The Vatican Bank for many decades, it is time for European law enforcement agency's and Interpol to break that up and arrest the Cardinal's involved along with the Italian Mafia and other organized criminal organizations which use the Vatican Bank to launder and store their illicit money.

    July 21, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jim Smith

    Throughout the ages, all branches of the Catholic (universal) church have suffered turmoils, problems, schisms, corrections.
    Pax Christi

    July 21, 2010 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Charles, Hickory NC

    I always thought the only rule, was don't get caught, but if you do, they had a special *fund* set aside to pay off the victims.
    Tattletales burn in hell, right Catholics?

    July 21, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Marc

    This really is such a simple issue. Molesting a child is against the law. If the Catholic Church has knowledge of a priest who has violated the law and refuses to name the individual, it could be argued that the Church is enabling the priest to continue with his illegal activities. I bet there are plenty of prosecutors who could make a "conspiracy to commit" case out of that. Until that happens, the clergy will protect its own, even if its own is committing felonies.

    July 22, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • MR

      @ Marc,
      This simple reasoning everybody understands. However there are higher priorities that Roman Catholic people in high places as well RC supporting governments have. That is : They cannot be see Roman Catholic Church looking bad. So they do everything in their power to save the RC priests. They sacrifice little children for the lust of the all powerful and controlling nazi-like priests.

      September 22, 2010 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. sab

    I've worked for a midwestern archdiocese for 33 years. I'm sure I haven't seen "it all" but I've seen quite a bit. The Catholic Church is a BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!!! Plain and simple. Our lives, religion, and souls are SECONDARY!!!!!

    July 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • MR

      Sab, we need guilty priests from the church coming out and confessing their crimes – then may be we can even start thinking of forgiving them. Ironically, the confession chambers were the most common place to commit these unspeakable crimes. May be if we banned confessions in the RC- the priests would have less opportunity and seclusion (statistically speaking) to commit these sins.

      September 22, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
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