Jul 21, 2007

Msgr. Byrne: Canon Law allows removal of prelates who fail to act when they should

In today's (July 21) edition of the New York Times, you might want to read the letter to the editor (click on this post's title) by Msgr. Harry J. Byrne of the Bronx.

Msgr. Byrne writes:

"Had the church’s canon law been followed, bishops who knowingly reassigned miscreant clergymen would have been held accountable. Canon 1395 provides that a cleric who commits a violation of the Sixth Commandment with a person under 16 can be punished by removal. Canon 1389 states that one in authority who performs or omits an act of governance to the harm of another can be punished by removal.

"The bishops shielded themselves from accountability in their Dallas Charter of June 2002, formulated to protect young people in the future. Quick action to remove an abuser was rightly promised. But not a word was said about any bishop who in the future would secretly reassign an abuser.

"It was precisely these reassignments that exponentially multiplied the abuse and damage to children."

Matt Abbott also has a letter in the same edition; he says he will stay in the Church despite the scandals.


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