Vatican says new document stresses all forms of priestly scandal
A new document on disciplinary treatment for priests, to be promulgated soon by Pope John Paul II, will address all forms of scandalous behavior, and not only the sexual abuse of children.
Catholic World News reports that Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone has disclosed that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith-- of which he is the secretary-- has prepared a document regarding "grave abuses" of the sacraments. However, he took pains to stress that the document did not concentrate exclusively on sexual misconduct.
The new norms give the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith jurisdiction for the cases of priests who are accused of serious scandals. The archbishop pointed out that these scandals could involve offenses against the sacrament of Penance, or gross misconduct in the celebration of the Eucharist.
Meanwhile The Sunday Age reported that three Melbourne priests accused of sexual abuse have successfully appealed to the Vatican about the way their cases were handled by the Archdiocese of Melbourne under a system implemented by the then archbishop, George Pell.
The ruling by the Vatican's Council for Clergy challenges the authority of the archdiocese's Commission into Sexual Abuse, which removed priests who were implicated in abuse from parishes, and took away their rights to celebrate Mass publicly, hear confessions and administer Holy Communion.
Under the system set up by Dr Pell, the commission heard complaints against priests and awarded compensation to victims, sometimes amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. In the first three years, all but 10 of 80 offers of compensation were accepted after hearings about 21 priests.