America's Roman Catholic cardinals 'use recently to debate' how to deal with pederasts in the church hierarchy.
(1. 'Recommendation of a special process for the dismissal from the clerical state of a priest who has become notorious and is guilty of the serial predatory, sexual abuse of minors'; vs. 2. 'Favour the rehabilitation, perhaps allowing a ministry far away from children'.)
Often their main concern is how to handle the public outrage over newspapers' publicity.
('It should have done more to avert a scandal that had imposed a heavy burden of sorrow and shame on all clergymen, and preserve the church from such a scandal'.)
Actually, one of the mayor roots upon which the problem arises is that the Catholic church has had a trend of covering up for the pervert priests. In practice, the widespread usage of this policy would transform such an institution into an organization with power enough to bestow criminal immunity to his members.
(Cardinal McCarrick made in April, 2002 a five-point proposal for a national church policy on child abuse:
- Reaching out to victims.
- Placing priests accused of child abuse on some sort of 'administrative leave' while they are under investigation.
- Informing civil authorities of suspected cases of child abuse.
- Sending accused priests to therapeutic centers for psychological evaluation.
- Setting up diocesan review boards composed of lay people as well as clergy to examine accusations.)
Should a priest be defrocked for a sexual assault on a child? Well, defrocking is a question for the church itself to decide: this has little relevance for social purposes. However, what dictates the common sense is to bring the priest to trial in a criminal court, as any other sex offender would be, and -if guilty- be punished according to the law. When released, the church could defrock him if it likes, or place him in a monastery, if it prefers.
Commentaries in parentheses have been taken from John Phillips article 'Prelates push to defrock priests' published in The Washington Times, April 25, 2002.