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5 Comments to “Crimen Sollicitationis”

  1. Great work Oz. I appreciate the time you have spent on it. I was certainly unaware of its existence.

  2. [...] 24. I have to confess, I have never met a single Australian I didn’t immediately like. That record remains unbroken with the discovery of Oz Atheist’s Weblog, where he takes a look at the Vatican’s 1962 Crimen Sollicitationis. [...]

  3. Clare says:

    It may be important, when looking at the purpose of Crim.Sol., to put it in context. 1962 was also the year of Vatican II (a liberal move), and the Sixties generally was an era of increasing assertion of individual rights and freedoms, and general cynicism about authority figures. With that in mind, reaffirming (and strengthening) the church’s command of secrecy could have been partially in awareness that more people might feel free to speak out if not deterred somehow.

    It’s also worth noting that defrocking abusers happens rarely, and to my knowledge excommunication never has, despite many confirmed offenders who qualify for it. Perceived heresy and/or rebellion against church authority is dealt with far more severely than clergy sexual abuse.

  4. I have a Google Alert set-up for the search terms “Crimen sollicitationis,” and when I saw that there was a blog entry by someone calling themselves “Oz Atheist” I assumed that it would be another biased critic using whatever they could find to club an ideological foe. But after having read your post, I have to say that you have written a reasonable summary of the controversy.

    I’ve written on the subject before on my own blog, and there are areas where we agree and some where we disagree. The relevant post of mine can be found here: Crimen sollicitationis.

    I’ll write a few comments on your post, just to give a little feedback and perhaps clarify my own understanding.

    The first is the issue of bestiality. I know it looks unusual to have such a thing mentioned in a set of norms dealing with (mostly) abuses of the confessional, but this is no more an indication that such activities were common than the mention of similar prohibitions in the criminal laws of most Australian states is an indication that the citizens of those states are sexually involved with animals. For example, section 59 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) makes bestiality a crime. I don’t think that that demonstrates that the incidence of bestiality is high or even existent at all in Victoria.

    The second thing I want to mention is Thomas Doyle. It’s hard to find reliable expert opinion on this issue because one would expect liberal Catholic scholars to want to maximise the damage to the hierarchy as they desire a more liberal, populist and, less centralised Roman Catholic Church. Conservative Catholic scholars want the opposite so they would seek to minimise the damage to the hierarchy as they seek to maintain a centralised, monarchical Roman Catholic Church. Doyle is about as liberal as they come. He also has a bad habit of directly contradicting himself, having once said that Crimen was an attempt to cover-up abuse, only to say the exact opposite when quoted soon after. He seems torn between his desire to be an honest scholar and his desire to radically alter the Church, and this sometimes shows up in different messages to different audiences. I’ve written about Doyle here: Thomas Doyle.

    The third comment I would like to make is that is it very difficult to find honest and unbiased reporting on the controversy. The pro-Catholic reporters (and lobbyists) put a pro-Catholic spin on it and the anti-Catholic reporters (and lobbyists) do the opposite. Probably the best, most objective piece of journalism on the subject can be found by Andrew Walsh of ‘Religion in the News’: Instructions From the Vatican.

    As for the origin of the dispute, I’ve written on the origin of the media controversy surrounding Crimen sollicitationis. It started in 2002 when a lawyer, Daniel Shea, found a mention of Crimen in a footnote to an article published by the Vatican. You can read the rest on my links.

    Anyway, contact me is you want to discuss the issue further. I’m no expert, just an interested amateur like yourself. (I used to be a Catholic but no longer believe in God/god. I generally describe myself as an agnostic.)

  5. Dammit, looks like I forgot to ‘close’ an italic markup. Doh.

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