1. Differentiate hierarchy and Christian community and detach the Christian community from the performance of the hierarchy. This does not represent the Christian community, since it has not been chosen by it nor does it total the ecclesiality. The Christian community bears no responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the hierarchy in relation to pederasty.
2. Do not identify pederasty with the church as a Christian community. Don’t talk about pederasty from the catholic church, but of pederasty in the Catholic Church. The Christian community has not been aware of pedophilia until now, nor has it anything to do with pederasty. Once known, he must condemn it, denounce it as a horrendous crime against children and adolescents and demand that the bishops act.
3. Summon the victims, listen to them, believe their testimonies, recognize their authority. In the case of pederasty, it is not the hierarchy that has the authority, but the victims, who are suffering the destructive consequences of their personality, their dignity, often irreparable and even reaching suicide.
4. Recognize the seriousness of the facts and not focus on cases outside the ecclesiastical institution, which is frequently done to downplay, nor should it affirm that there are very few cases, because it is not true, since cases appear daily of sexual abuse and we suspect that they will continue to appear to the extent that the victims lose their fear and decide to speak up, as has happened in countries where independent investigation commissions have been created.
5. Recognize that, with his denial, concealment and silence, first, cover-up, inaction and lack of reporting, later, and his refusal to investigate, now, he is being an accomplice of pederasty. It legitimizes the behavior of pedophiles.
6. Publicly acknowledge their permissibility, responsibility and culpability in clerical pederasty by not acting after learning of cases of sexual abuse.
7. Correct their merciless attitude towards the victims and practice compassion understood as identifying with them, taking their side, making their suffering their own, accompanying them, helping to heal their wounds according to the parable of the Good Samaritan, an ethical example of compassion, care and caring for victims.
8. Exclude pedophiles from their pastoral functions, deliver them to civil justice to be judged and, if their guilt is proven, be sanctioned with the penalties commensurate with the seriousness of the sexual crimes.
9. Make a public request for forgiveness, repair the victims and assume the commitment of non-repetition.
10. Have evangelical transparency in the search for the truth, reaching the ultimate consequences and putting into practice the affirmation of Jesus: “The truth will set you free” (Jn, 10,32). Otherwise, they will continue to be stubborn in concealment and even obscurantism.
11. Create, consequently, a truth investigation commission independent of the hierarchy, which guarantees objectivity so as not to obstruct the investigative process, and accept the results of the investigation with all its consequences, no matter how painful they may be. As stated by the German Jesuit Hans Zollner, a member of the Commission created by the Pope for this issue, “if the Church does not fulfill her duty, others will do it”. The episcopal refusal of said commission is what has led to: a) the approval of a Parliamentary Commission to thoroughly investigate sexual crimes within the Catholic Church and b) the proposal that the Ombudsman be the one to carry out carry out this investigation. The Catholic hierarchy must support these initiatives, participate in them and collaborate in clarifying the facts by making all the information available to them available.
12. Analyze the structural causes of pedophilia that are not reduced to isolated and exceptional cases, but rather affect all sectors of the institution.
13. To tackle the causes that lead to pederasty, it is necessary and urgent to de-patriarchalize, de-clericalize, de-hierarchize, de-masculinize and democratize the Catholic Church.
14. In addition to zero tolerance with pedophiles, excluding them from their pastoral functions, applying sanctions according to the seriousness of the crime and handing them over to civil justice, the hierarchy must develop processes of re-education of pedophiles in the recognition and respect to the dignity and inviolability of all human beings and, in this case, of the people who are victims of such crimes.
Juan Jose Tamayo He is an emeritus professor at the Carlos III University of Madrid. His latest book is Compassion in an Unjust World (Fragmenta, 2021).
Exclusive content for subscribers
read without limits