Monday, 7 July 2014


Archbishop Josef Wesolowski
The Vatican took a good and very important step last week when it "defrocked" the former nuncio to the Dominican Republic Archbishop Josef Wesolowski for sexually abusing minors.

The fact that Wesolowski has 2 months to appeal his punishment is also good - as it is an attempt by the Vatican to stick to the rules of natural justice. 

Up to now the Vatican has not been famous for transparent justice. Maybe Pope Francis is succeeding a little in changing things. I doubt if Wesolowski's fellow Pole, John Paul 11 had still been in place that this move would have even happened. 

However the thoughts of the Vatican putting Wesolowski on trial in a Vatican criminal court seems odd to say the least. If he is found guilty he would be put into prison in a cell within the Vatican.

To me there is something very strange about a church having prison cells. It harks back to the times of the Inquisition. Surely criminal proceedings and prison cells are the remit of civil jurisdictions and not churches who are supposed to be the preachers of the Gospel and the Good News- not to mention promoters of forgiveness.

But then again the Vatican is already an anomoly in being a civil state. Jesus never intended his church to be a civil state. But all that this proves I suppose is that the Roman Catholic Church is not the church of Jesus or the church Jesus intended.

The church is quite right to impose ecclesiastical sanctions on Josef Wesolowski.

But the Vatican should now hand him over to whatever state he committed the sexual abuse in for his civil and criminal trial and punishment.

His victims deserve to watch him go on trial in their own country - the county in which he abused them.

Not to hand him over to the civil authorities is in fact the church protecting him and shielding him from proper justice.

If he is just kept in a Vatican cell I'm sure he will have, as an archbishop, a very confortable existence. I can imagine the Swiss Guards bringing him his pasta and his red wine on a daily basis. 

If he abused in a particular country then he should face trial in that country. If he is to go to prison he should go to prison in the country where he committed him crimes and be imprisoned in the conditions that prevail in the prisons of that state - providing of course thery are not inhuman.

And now that Wesolowski has been sorted out we are still waiting for news of what the Vatican is going to do with Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Scotland.

Of course O'Brien is not accused of abusing minors. But he is accused of abusing trainee priests and young priests who he had total control over as their religious superior.

It will be very hard for the Vatican to act against a cardinal. But they must.

The Cardinal O'Brien case will give us a much better idea of how far the Vatican has gone down the road of justice and transparency than the Wesolowski case. 

We must wait and see,

+Pat Buckley

1 comment:

  1. Pat I do agree with what you say, though the case of the disgraced former Nuncio is a little more complex than appears. I understand from a trusted friend who knows the full details of the case that this was not the case of a sexual offender in the accepted sense of that term; i.e., that of a predator sexually molesting or assaulting pre, or just pubescent, children. Rather he was making frequent use of teenage male prostitutes at his former posting. The youths were all 15 years and older. Now this is no excuse for what by any standards is scandalous behaviour, but it is not "abuse" in the predatory sense of that word. I understand that this poor creature is also a total alcoholic. Like you I am appalled at the thought of this man having to stand trial in the Vatican City State Court. This is a nonsense. Rather like having to stand trial in Ruratania, or Lilliput. so some other fictitious place. This man needs help in order to address his offending behaviours and his addictions. He needs therapy.He needs containment and supervision, not trial and imprisonment. He has suffered punishment enough in the very public and total humiliation that he has suffered. There are many who see in him a convenient and useful scapegoat for Pope Francis to use to show a certain ruthlessness, not only confined to matters of sexual impropriety I can assure you. He is known as Stalin in the Vatican.To get back to the former Nuncio. I cannot see that he has "victims" in the normative use of that term, in so far as I can understand the youthful prostitutes were willing participants, if not by desire, then by circumstance and poverty, Tragic though this may be, it is another matter. So too with Cardinal KPOB. He is in disgrace and has spectacularly fallen from grace, so much so that he is known the world over for the hypocrite he was. I say was because I understand that he has seriously begun to address his alcoholism and is deeply ashamed of the self hatred within himself that caused his outrageous homophoblic remarks and policies. Pat, he too has been a victim of the Church and how it chews us up, rewards us if we are good boys, and spits us out if we hit the buffers. Like in my own life KPOB will see that his fall was the greatest thing they ever happened to him. Remember the Good Thief? Remember too that there but for the Grace of God go I, go you, go all of us. We are all wounded redeemed sinners. The lucky ones are the ones upon whom God intervenes while there is a chance of change. Forgive me for not putting my name to this. Former Vatican Official.