Male religious orders may not be accountable to Catholic Church
By Peter Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 28, 2016, Virginislandsdailynews.com
PITTSBURGH — Even as the leadership of a Hollidaysburg, Pa.-based Franciscan province is called to account in criminal court for its handling of a sex offender, the case is raising a broader question:
Just how accountable are male religious orders for following the U.S. Catholic Church’s zero-tolerance policy adopted in 2002?
Such orders are typically authorized by the pope and consist of priests and brothers who make specific vows, typically to poverty, chastity and obedience, with some orders having additional vows.
While dioceses, their bishops and priests are usually the most public face of a church in a given community, religious orders frequently provide the personnel to work in parishes, schools, hospitals, social-service agencies and retreat houses.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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