Church 101 for Child Protection Advocates

Here are some lessons from the masters I have studied: Fr. Thomas Verner Moore OSB MD, Fr Gerald Fitzgerald s.P. and Fr. Aquinas Walter Richard Sipe O.S.B. 1. The sexual assault of minors is about power, not sex. 2. Child porn, child sexual assault and child trafficking are fruit of the same crime. 3. The cases are about criminal conduct, not belief.

The Catholic Church is a monarchical system that promises salvation to followers that adhere to the teachings. The system is fueled by a three tiered taxation engine rooted in powerful myths.   Nota Bene, the first teaching against clerical sexual abuse of minors is from the Didache in 60 A.D.

The Catholic Church is a consortium of churches in union with the Bishop of Rome. Each church is rooted in a specific language/culture called a Rite with the Roman Rite representing 95% of the 1 billion worldwide followers.

The Catholic Church is also a secular State known as Sanctae Sedes or the Holy See. The Holy See has diplomatic missions in hundreds of countries called Nunciatures staffed by representatives appointed by the Pope. The Nunciatures, Dioceses and Parishes are connected to the Holy See through the Vatican Bank or I.O.R. The Holy See rules by soft power and has not maintained a military force since the creation of the Italian State.

The core Governmental principle is that Power flows down and money flows up. At the top of the pyramid is the Bishop of Rome aka the Pope who holds universal jurisdiction where he alone teaches, governs and sanctifies the world. The world is organized by Dioceses which are geographic regions established by the Pope. Only the Pope appoints the Bishop of a Diocese, the Bishop reports to the Pope and pays annual taxes to Rome.  Each Diocese is a geographic region of parishes established by the Bishop. Only the Bishop appoints Priests to the parishes, the Priests report to the Bishop and pay annual taxes to the Diocese.  Laity do not have the capacity to govern. Respondeat Superiori is a common law principle that closely expresses the Roman model of Church polity. One of the key cases to be aware of is Hosanna-Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 565 U.S. 171 (2012).

A general norm of roman structure is to adapt to the local civil laws (canon 22) in so far as they are not contrary to Codex Iuris Canonici. Roman Catholic institutions adapt to State law and incorporate to what most closely represents Church Polity.  Corporation Sole is a common listing in the annual Official Catholic Directory (O.C.D.) delivered to the I.R.S. and a document that is judicially noticeable.

There are three types of Roman Catholics: Clerics, Religious and Laity. Clerics (Patricians) are men ordained as Bishops, Priests or Deacons to teach, govern and sanctify the Religious and Laity.

Religious (Centurions) are vowed men and women following a Rule under a Superior. If male religious are also Clerics they can serve in parishes under the jurisdiction with faculties (permission) of the Diocesan Bishop. Religious men can be either Priests or Brothers. Religious women are referred to as Nuns or Sisters traditionally running schools and hospitals. Religious Institutes also are in the O.C.D.

Laity (Plebs) are all the baptized (99%) whose job is to pray, pay and obey. They achieve salvation through participation in the seven sacraments which are only provided by the Clerics.

Insurance is a requirement of all institutions with each Diocesan Bishop or Religious Superior as the autonomous administrator. Dioceses and Religious Institutes rely upon commercial insurance companies as well as risk sharing pools as Catholic Mutual Group and Catholic Risk Retention Group.

Once rumor or direct knowledge of child sexual assault comes to a Bishop or Religious Superior there are several traditional management options. An initial investigation is conducted by the Vicar for Clergy or a trusted Priest and a confidential report (canon 489) is created for the Holy See and the Secret Archives which only the Bishop and Vicar General (2nd in command) have access.

First and most common option is to quickly change the assignment, a geographic solution. A second is to command the offender to see a sympathetic psychiatrist or psychologist. Upon further offenses the Cleric or religious is ordered to the Servants of the Paraclete, Saint Luke Institute, House of Affirmation, Saint John Vianney Institute or Southdown. Final solutions are being sent to a monastery for prayer and penance or involuntary laicization. All of these management decisions have document trails maintained in the Secret Archives, their retention policy is in to maintain these files in perpetuity.

The Church has a closed loop system of Treatment Centers created in 1947 for Clerics and Religious. The purpose is to evaluate, report back and recycle clerics and religious back to ministry. Initial evaluations as well as monthly and final reports are sent back to the Bishop or Superior with the most common diagnosis being Pedophilia, Ephebophilia or N.O.S. (not otherwise specified).

The Church in the past faced minimal criminal exposure with a few exceptions of Fr. Donald Roemer in 1981 or Fr. John Goeghan in 2002 or Fr. Donald McGuire S.J. in 2006. There currently are 12 Grand Jury reports and charges against Bishops for failure to report and consumer protection violations for knowingly employing sex offenders. A Key case was Stogner v. California 539 U.S. 607 (2003).

Myth is Power: The Pope is the descendant of St. Peter and St. Paul, his teachings ex-cathedra are without the possibility of error. Every Bishop chosen by the Pope is a successor to the Apostles. Every Priest ordained by a Bishop is ontologically changed to be a little less than the angels, set apart to provide the sacraments necessary for salvation. Rome is the one, true, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic church. Obedience and Secrecy are the highest virtues while creating scandal is a deadly sin.

At least 64 high level documents from the 1st to 21 century demonstrate a Tradition of superior knowledge by Catholic Bishops of child sexual assault by clerics. Here is a short sampling. Didache of 60 A.D. ; Council of Elvira of 309 A.D.; Book of Gomorrah by Cardinal Peter Damian O.S.B. Cam. in 1051 A.D.; Sacramentum Poenitentia by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741 A.D; Instructio de Modo Procendi in Causis Sollicitationis by Pope John XXIII in 1962 A.D.; Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela by Pope John Paul II in 2001 A.D.

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Filed under Background Information, canon law, catholic, clergy abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse

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