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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Crimen Sollicitationis: An interpretation
Vatican City
Father Tom Doyle is a canon lawyer. He had a diplomatic career with the Vatican but was sacked after he criticised the church's handling of child abuse. He gives this interpretation of Crimen Sollicitationis in the Panorama film.

Crimen solicitationis is indicative of a worldwide policy of absolute secrecy and control of all cases of sexual abuse by the clergy.

But what you really have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen.

You've got a written policy that says that the Vatican will control these situations and you also have I think clear written evidence of the fact that all they are concerned about is containing and controlling the problem.

Nowhere in any of these documents does it say anything about helping the victims.

The only thing it does is say that they can impose fear on the victims and punish the victims for discussing or disclosing what happened to them.

It's all controlled by the Vatican and at the top of the Vatican is the Pope so Joseph Ratzinger was in the middle of this for most of the years that Crimens was enforced he created the successor to Crimen and now he is the Pope this all says that the policy and systematic approach has not changed.

Cardinal Ratzinger, now as Pope, could tomorrow get up and say: 'Here's the policy: full disclosure to the civil authorities, absolute isolation and dismissal of any accused and proven and convicted clerics, complete openness and transparency, complete openness of all financial situations, stop all barriers to the legal process and completely co-operate with the civil authorities everywhere.'

He could do that.

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