The Roman Catholic Church has a long history of suspicion and neglect that has only recently surfaced in the past few years. Many of the allegations have centered around sex abuse from priests and others within the Catholic Church.
Under the authority of the position, no one would ever dare speak out or risk ex-communication or punishment at the hand of the church. When the sex abuse cases would take place, secrecy became the normal practice of many within the church.
This past week Pope Francis decided to change things up within the church. He is changing the way the church deals with cases of sexual abuse that involve minors. What he has done was to do away with the rule of “pontifical secrecy.”
This strange and protective rule covered people that were involved in such cases. The reason that this took so long will never be disclosed. But late is better than nothing at all.
The normal practice within the church was to say nothing to authorities that would involve sexual abuse cases. Things would quietly be dealt with and nothing would ever be done to the offender.
But under the new rules, the pope is backing rules that make it a requirement that authorities be notified when sexual abuse takes place. This is happening in places where it is required by law.
The sad part about the Catholic Church is that the offender would often forbid the abused to ever speak out about what has happened to them. If they were to speak out, there would be severe consequences that would be imposed on the victim. This way of thinking is criminal at best.
Every would-be lawbreaker tells their victims to not tell anyone because they never want to be caught. They just want to be left alone to continue to do what they know they can get away with. This kind of behavior is devilish and will no longer be tolerated in the church.
This is an overdue step by the Catholic Church. It should have been years ago. No one will ever know why it took them so long to issue such a rule change. One Archbishop stated that “This is an epochal decision.”
Every single Catholic Church leader will have to abide by the rules. Even those at the very top. There will be no one that can decide not to obey. Now the question will remain if everyone will follow the rules or if this statement is just to appear to comply with national laws in protective countries.
One of the reasons why the decision was made is an attempt to modernize the church. The leaders just felt that the rule was outdated. What they are saying is that they can no longer hide behind such beliefs because their secret was out. The lawsuits against the church were becoming too expensive, so they had to do something to appear like they were making progress.
One Catholic official stated that “Certain jurisdictions would have easily quoted the pontifical secret … to say that they could not and that they were not, authorized to share information with either state authorities or the victims.”
They are saying that there is no need to talk with the authorities because it was never any of their business. But now that the rule is no longer there protecting the offenders, they have no choice but to face the consequences of their actions.
Within the past year, a priest was sent to jail because they had child pornography in his possession. The pope is tired of the abuse cases plaguing the church, and he has vowed that it will no longer be tolerated.
The offenders will be dealt with and the victims will be helped. It will remain to be seen if these efforts will be enough to stop the abuse that the Catholic Church has been engaging in for decades. The people that come to their spiritual leaders come for help and end up being victims of a greater and more destructive crime.