Vatican Faces Civil Challenges

Pope Benedict XVI and his key advisers are facing a long, hot summer of problem-solving and strategizing. A raid by Belgian police on the archdiocesan headquarters and residences near Brussels on June 24 left Vatican officials stunned and illustrated just how much the sexual abuse crisis has lowered the church’s standing in the eyes of some civil authorities. The country’s bishops were held for nine hours as police confiscated files, computers and cell phones. The ultimate affront came when the police drilled into the tombs of two dead cardinals and inserted cameras to look for supposed hidden documents. None were found. The police action brought sharp criticism from Pope Benedict, who was careful, however, to defend the right of civil authorities to investigate priestly sex abuse. Four days later, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling in Oregon that said the Vatican did not have immunity from potential liability for the actions of a priest accused of sexual abuse.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Democrats, and the Republicans who understand Dreamers are owed protection, could take a lesson from people of color around the country in how to navigate a political process tainted by racism. The lives of 800,000 Dreamers depend on it.
Antonio De Loera-BrustJanuary 22, 2018
“Separating fathers from families has been going on for a while. But now, even mothers are being separated from their children.”
J.D. Long-GarcíaJanuary 22, 2018
“I ask forgiveness,” the pope said on his flight from Lima to Rome. “It’s a hurt [caused] without wishing it.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 22, 2018