AP examines how dioceses monitor priests who committed abuse
CWN - July 05, 2010
The Essential Norms for Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors that arose from the US bishops’ June 2002 meeting in Dallas envision that elderly or infirm priests who have sexually abused a child might be consigned to a life of prayer and penance instead of being laicized.
If the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state has not been applied (e.g., for reasons of advanced age or infirmity), the offender ought to lead a life of prayer and penance. He will not be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to administer the sacraments. He is to be instructed not to wear clerical garb, or to present himself publicly as a priest.
The Associated Press, in a July 4 wire story, examined how US dioceses are implementing this provision of the Essential Norms. Many dioceses, lacking the resources to monitor such priests, have simply “laicized everybody,” according to one consultant, while the Archdiocese of Chicago has a program that monitors 11 elderly or infirm clerics.
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