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Southern Religion

Former Vatican Canon lawyer: ‘…it’s all about power’

Father Tom Doyle, now 65, was a canon lawyer for the Vatican embassy in Washington when he was assigned to investigate a Lafayette, Louisiana, case of a pedophile priest who admitted molesting more than 30 children. Ruben Rosario of Pioneer Press discussed in an interview with Doyle how the priest’s local archdiocese officials decided to hide the crimes and transfer the child predator from one parish to another, where he abused again.

Doyle, a fellow priest and a criminal defense attorney reacted in 1985 by assembling, on their own initiative, “a 100-page report warning church officials to come clean about the abuses and respond to the needs of victims rather than protect abusive priests from secular prosecution or protect — at all costs — the church’s status and image. The report, sent to virtually every U.S. bishop, was largely ignored.”

His initiative and prescient warning were followed by victim advocacy — a path which led to demotion, the status of a pariah and ultimately cost him his job.

He told Rosario that the church can regain its reputation and restore lost confidence in it:

Doyle: To begin the process of restoration, I believe that the current pope needs to stand up and make a public apology. Not that those mistakes were made in the past — they always do in the past tense and there’s a subtle message there that this is in the past and not now. The pope should say: “I’m sorry for what I did in my negligence to allow this to happen. I’m sorry that I did not fire bishops when I knew they were covering up.”

But I don’t believe that will ever happen in my lifetime.

Rosario: Why?

Doyle: Because to protect their own self-identity, they will cling to the premise that they are appointed by the Almighty and are the vicars of Christ and the essence of the church. They believe this will dissolve their power. It’s all about control, and it’s all about power.

Read the entire interview here.

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March 31, 2010 - Posted by | Catholic | ,

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