The Observer has obtained a 40-year-old confidential document from the secret Vatican archive which lawyers are calling a 'blueprint for deception and concealment'. One British lawyer acting for Church child abuse victims has described it as 'explosive'.
The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.
They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to 'be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'
The document, which has been confirmed as genuine by the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, is called 'Crimine solicitationies', which translates as 'instruction on proceeding in cases of solicitation'." The Guardian
I am a writer of fiction among other things. I think it would be difficult to invent a "plot twist" like this one.
I think of all the good priests I have known. Some I have mentioned before. God bless them and their memory. "John XXIII?" His seal was on this monstrosity?
This brings to mind all the "churchy" movies in which evil prelates value "The Church" more than "Christianity." Wasn't Gabriel Byrne in a couple of those? And there is the scene in the Ridley Scott epic "Kingdom of Heaven" in which the fictional Balian of Ibelin tells the patriarch of Jerusalem that he has "learned a lot about religion" from him.
In London I once heard an Irish Carmelite preach a sermon in which he remarked that his flock had too much of religion and not enough of Faith...
Don't bother to write to tell me that you are an atheist and that we have all merited this by our gullibility. That would be a trivial comment. pl