In 2014, Pope Francis admitted that “about two percent” or 1 in 50 Roman Catholic priests are pedophiles. He then promised solutions to the history of the church essentially condoning the horrid practice. However, it appears that his solution is to sweep it under the rug.
According to a report out of the AP, Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope’s own advisers question.
One of the child molesting priests given clemency by the Pope was later arrested and sentenced to more than four years in jail for abusing multiple boys aged 12-16. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him, according to the AP.
It is no secret that the Vatican has been sweeping the issue of pedophilia under the rug for many years. In 2014, the UN issued a scathing report, blasting the Vatican for protecting pedophiles.
The U.N. committee’s main human rights investigator, Sara Oviedo, led the most intense grilling the Holy See has received on the issue, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Given the “zero tolerance” policy of the Vatican, she asked, why were there “efforts to cover up and obscure these types of cases?”
Another committee member, psychologist Maria Rita Parsi, added: “If these events continue to be hidden and covered up, to what extent will children be affected?”
One such event that was covered up by the Vatican and the Western media at large was the reverend Gino Flaim, who claimed to “understand pedophilia” and said it’s caused by the child’s attempt to find affection.
He told Italy’s La7 television channel, “I’ve been to lots of schools, and I know children. Unfortunately, there are children who seek affection because they don’t receive it at home and I understand that some priests can give up. Pedophilia is a sin, and like all sins has to be accepted.”
When the interviewer asked Flaim, “So, you actually mean that most of the time it’s because of the kid’s fault?”
Flaim responded by saying, “Yes, most of the time.”
Many canon lawyers and church authorities argue that defrocking pedophiles can put society at greater risk because the church no longer exerts any control over them. They argue that keeping the men in restricted ministry, away from children, at least enables superiors to exert some degree of supervision.
However, as the case of Rev. Mauro Inzoli illustrates, these people need to be locked up.
In November, an Italian criminal judge showed little mercy in convicting Inzoli of abusing five children, aged 12-16, and sentencing him to four years, nine months in prison. The judge said Inzoli had a number of other victims but their cases fell outside the statute of limitations, according to the AP.
As the AP reports, Francis scrapped the commission’s proposed tribunal for bishops who botch abuse cases following legal objections from the congregation. The commission’s other major initiative — a guideline template to help dioceses develop policies to fight abuse and safeguard children — is gathering dust. The Vatican never sent the template to bishops’ conferences, as the commission had sought, or even linked it to its main abuse-resource website.