Pope Francis is preparing to roll back some of the reforms calling for tough treatment of priests accused of sexual abuse, reports Michael Brendan Dougherty of The Week.
Dougherty reports that the Pope has discussed the possibility of taking the responsibility for sex-abuse prosecution away from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and having the cases handled by another Vatican office—presumably because the CDF is seen as relentless in its attitude toward abusive priests. The Pope reportedly discussed this possibility in December with the Council of Cardinals, although that conversation was not mentioned in public reports on the meeting.
Pope Francis has made numerous tough statements against clerical abuse, most recently in his message to the world’s bishops on December 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents. Yet he has also advocated for compassionate treatment of fallen priests, and defended prelates who have been charged with negligence in handling abuse complaints. In one noteworthy case, the Pope reversed a CDF decision laicizing a notorious Italian priest—who was later convicted of multiple charges in a civil court. [Editor’s note: story following]
Full story at Catholic Culture.
Father Mauro Inzoli
Fr. Mauro Inzoli, an Italian priest, was accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional and taught children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.
But Inzoli was “with cardinal friends,” we have learned. Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, now dean of the Roman Rota, both intervened on behalf of Inzoli, and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to a “a life of humility and prayer.” These strictures seem not to have troubled Inzoli too much. In January 2015, the priest participated in a conference on the family in Lombardy.
This summer, civil authorities finished their own trial of Inzoli, convicting him of eight offenses. Another 15 lay beyond the statute of limitations. The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the CDF, for not sharing the information they had found in their canonical trial with civil authorities.
Full story at The Week.