“The Scandal of Secrecy”
Earlier this month, when the New York Times published a story about the CDF and its jurisdiction over clergy sex-abuse cases, Grant Gallicho asked Nicholas Cafardi, a canon lawyer quoted in the article, to comment on the “news.” Cafardi’s very helpful explanation was posted on our blog.
Now we have published a longer article by Cafardi, “The Scandal of Secrecy: Canon Law & the Sexual-Abuse Crisis.” It explains how “secret” laws complicated and exacerbated the crisis in the church, and dispels some misconceptions about the nature of the secrecy required by Crimen sollicitationis.
The Guardian‘s Andrew Brown has linked to our article on his blog. His take sounds about right to me:
The conclusion [Cafardi] comes to is that the policy on secrecy really was so secret that the bishops did not realise it applied. Of course, the secrecy enjoined covered…the church’s internal tribunals, not the crimes themselves. Where those were not reported, as usually they weren’t, this was down to misguided and wicked institutional loyalty rather than formal policy.
…this is an account of the matter which makes a lot of sense. It requires no more than normal vanity, bureaucratic ass-covering, and indifference to other people’s suffering. That’s all that needed for evil to have a very good run. You don’t need the superhuman malevolence which some people attribute to the Vatican—even though we’ll hear a lot about that in the run up to the visit of the Pope.
Read Nicholas Cafardi’s article here.