Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sometimes the Church must punish

In the light of the Church's sexual abuse crisis, the Church's penal law is being reviewed. For years it has been said that some bishops have simply failed to use the options of imposing penalties that the Code of Canon Law gives them.

John Allen of the National Catholic Register recently interviewed Archbishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts and will be publishing extracts of the interview. Today Allen writes:
One reason for the current lack of uniformity (in the application of penal law), Arrieta said, is that the new penal law of 1983, incorporating the vision of the Second Vatican Council, left tremendous discretion in the hands of individual bishops.

“There are something like 2,500 dioceses in the world,” Arrieta said. “In the post-Vatican II code, every bishop has a great deal of latitude in terms of deciding whether or not to punish someone, and if so, which punishment to impose.”

“As a result, the response of the church to the problems it faced was incredibly diverse,” he said. “Paradoxically, in order to respect the liberty of the bishops, the code effectively created a risk to the unity of the church.”
So it seems that proposed revisions to the Church's penal code have been circulated to various experts in Canon Law around the world. Read more at Crime and punishment in the church gets a new look.

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