It’s papal trivia time!
In light of the recent explosion of media coverage about the clergy sex abuse scandal, revelations about the inaction of bishops to stop offenders, and the full-scale global cover-up of the rape of hundreds of thousands of children, let’s take a little quiz.
Name the Pope who insisted that all clerics who molest children be turned over to civil authorities and forced to live a life of penance at a monastery far away from children?
A) Pope John Paul II (1978-2005)
B) Pope Benedict XVI (2005-present)
C) Pope Pius V (1566-1572)
The winner? C. Apparently, someone got it right 438 years ago. And that was the last time anyone thought about calling the cops.
Church documents show that the crime of bishops, priests, deacons, and religious raping and sodomizing children has been known and understood by the Roman Papacy for at least a millennium. Pope Saint Pius V (1566 -1572) referred to the crime against children in his Constitutions of August 30, 1568 as horrendum illud scelus: that horrendous crime.
And then he did something revolutionary: He demanded action to keep kids safe.
Pius V sought to reform the criminal depravity and moral laxity of the clergy by instituting penalties that bishops, abbots, and superiors of religious orders could invoke on the cleric. Pius V states:
§1. “Clearly it is known to the Lateran Council that clerics who have been caught sinning against nature with children must be cast out from the clergy or forced to lead a life of penance in the Monasteries.
Funny, he doesn’t say anything transferring a priest to a new location where people won’t know about his past …
In light of the recent developments of Gilbert Gauthe and Oliver O’Grady being loose in society, it probably would be prudent to follow Pope Pius V second point and place the 4,392 clerics mentioned in the John Jay Study in Monasteries without schools.
§2. “But lest the contagion of such a disease grow stronger, we have concluded in Council that the Clerical defendants of this nefarious crime must be punished severely, that for those who do not shudder at the damnation of their souls the avenging secular sword of civil laws may surely deter them.”
Pope Pius V concluded in the sixteenth century that punishment must be severe and the offending clerics turned over to civil authorities.
The Church, according to Professor Henry Charles Lea’s History of the Inquisition, did call the police. Clerics were handed various punishments including a life of rowing in the gallows and even death.
With the punishments available today, if the bishops followed the leadership of Pope Saint Pius V, many clerics would have only scarred one child instead of the dozens each priest perpetrators has. Somewhere between the 16th and 20th centuries, the bishops stopped turning clerics over to civil authorities.
§3. “Therefore, we intend to pursue more fully now and with more vigor what has already been decreed in this pestilence, and we deprive any Presbyter and any other Clerics, either diocesan or religious, of whatever grade, rank, office or privilege who commit so dire and unspeakable an act. Those demoted by Ecclesiastical judge or Bishop should be immediately delivered to the secular power to receive punishment.”
Pope Saint Pius V is clear: Call the police and turn the cleric over to civil authorities. For the United States bishops or William Cardinal Levada of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to claim they did not understand the gravity of the problem or what to do until 1984 is lavender lunacy. And a downright lie.
The penalties and procedures to stop bishops, priests, deacons, and religious that permanently sexually scare children have been available for centuries.
So, what is the horrendous crime today? The bishops and priests and not calling the police.