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Misdirection play

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 19, 2003

The phony stories about that 1962 Vatican document are still spreading, and you begin to wonder why there hasn't been a more energetic effort by Church leaders to debunk a story that is so obviously inaccurate.

Well brace yourself, because there may be an answer, and it isn't a pretty one.

That Vatican document was about the ecclesiastical crime of "solicitation," which is the grave sin committed by priests who use the confessional (or information obtained in the confessional) as a means of obtaining sex.

Has it struck you during the past year to two, as you read story after story about sexual abuse, that some priests have had a remarkable knack for picking out the teenagers who would be vulnerable to sexual overtures? Could they have learned something in the confessional?

Traditionally the Church has guarded against this potential abuse by taking solicitation very, very seriously. (If you have any doubts on that score, just read that 1962 document.) And the policies set forth by the Vatican in 1962 were still in force when many of these incidents took place. If those policies had been followed, it seems reasonable to conclude that some predatory priests would have been defrocked many years ago.

We don't know, of course; and we never will. But here's one bit more evidence-- to toss onto a very large pile-- that the breakdown in clerical discipline began long ago, and the corruption has become widespread.

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