A Vatican struggle over abuse policy
With the latest revelations by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, a clear picture begins to emerge from what had been a haze of confusion about the Vatican's approach to sex-abuse complaints.
There was a conflict within the Roman Curia over how these complaints should be handled. That conflict apparently endured through much of the pontificate of John Paul II. It ended with the election of Benedict XVI.
Writing (in French) on his religious-affairs blog, veteran Vatican analyst Jean-Marie Guenois of Le Figaro explains what happened. The Congregation for the Clergy, under Cardinal Castrillon, argued for protective treatment of accused abusers. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) under Cardinal Ratzinger, argued for decisive disciplinary action. Sometimes Cardinal Ratzinger had his way, as in the handling of the Groër case; sometimes he was frustrated, as with Maciel case; sometimes the results were indecisive, as with the Burresi case.
Then in 2001, after the abuse scandal exploded in the US, Cardinal Ratzinger won a major victory,
with the assignment of abuse cases to the CDF. The lenient attitude of the Congregation for Clergy was no longer
a factor; prompt and serious discipline was possible. The second, decisive victory came in 2005 with the election
of Pope Ratzinger. Within weeks the Maciel and Burresi cases were resolved.
With acknowledgment to Catholic Culture.org