TO LIGHT A FIRE!
In Part 2 of his PDI OUTLOOK column (4th paragraph) last July 15, Rigoberto Tiglao described Part 1 of his column last July 8 as “the assault on the church as an institution purportedly mediating between God and man”. Immediately after this, he posed the following rhetorical question: “How can the worst kind of sexual deviants -- those preying on the innocent -- speak for God and morality? Worse, there have emerged documented allegations that the present Pope, in his previous job since 1981 as head of the
Several paragraphs later, Tiglao took care of answering his own rhetorical question but with obvious prejudice as follows:
“These cases of sexual abuse worldwide have not only severely eroded the Church’s credibility as an institution of morality, and as God’s representative on earth. They have also put into question the credibility of the Vicar of Christ, the Pope himself.
xxxxx Investigations by the New York Times xxxxx and by other European journalists have definitively shown that Benedict was informed of the accusations since the 1990s and perhaps even earlier but had failed to act on them, allegedly even in effect ignoring them.”
There is nothing whatsoever in Tiglao’s July 15 column that would even thinly suggest some evenhandedness or balance in his treatment of these vicious accusations and allegations against Pope Benedict’s supposed failure to act or “even in effect ignoring” these “cases of sexual abuse worldwide” despite its perpetrators being “the worst kind of sexual deviants”!
The truth of the matter WILL REFUTE Tiglao’s diatribes! Consider that under Canon Law and common sense, it was the bishop of the diocese to which the offending priest belonged, who had to take immediate action and the duty to report the alleged crimes to the local police IF evidence of guilt was strong. Besides, Cardinal Ratzinger who was thousands of miles away had no legal standing nor practical means to be an effective complainant for such complex matters with such faraway police authorities.
Nevertheless, as the Catholic World Report publisher, Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. explained in the Letters (to the Editor) section of the June 2010 issue of his magazine, then Cardinal Ratzinger was “one of the few major prelates who took decisive action to respond to it. Thus some sixty percent of the cases reported by the bishops to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) were sent back to the bishops because the evidence was so strong (and so), a long canonical process (at the CDF) was not needed. The bishops (therefore) could and should have taken immediate action and reported those priests to the authorities.”
What Tiglao and the world’s media may also have forgotten, is that even more pronounced is the prevailing policy in most of the secular systems for criminal justice throughout the world to exercise PRUDENCE, such that:
1. The identities of the victims are assiduously protected from the glare of media publicity.
2. Considering that the allegations of any criminal wrongdoing may be FALSE, thus the accused who is “presumed innocent until proven guilty” STILL has a right to the protection of his/her reputation. And so U.S. civil libertarians have always insisted on the sacredness of the Miranda Doctrine which has been adopted here in the Philippines together with the underlying philosophy that “it is better to run the risk of having ten among those truly guilty getting away scot-free, than to have just one innocent person wrongly convicted of a crime.” That is why Criminal Law jurisprudence and the Rules of Court are stacked up in favor of the accused who does NOT have to prove his/her PRESUMED innocence, but instead has to be EXPLICITLY proven by the prosecution under proper DUE PROCESS, to be GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
Tiglao et al may also not be aware of the fact further emphasized by Fr. Fessio, that as early as the year 2001 even before such scandals erupted in the U.S., Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II had already begun exercising their MORAL command responsibility, by mandating that “all credible allegations of child abuse by priests (should) be reported to the CDF”.
Be that as it may, the most unfortunate fact still remains, which Tiglao has emphasized, that the moral credibility of the Catholic Church especially among non-Catholics, has been “severely eroded”!
But this is precisely why we Catholics ought NOW to make an act of the will to remain steadfast in our Faith, on the SOLID PREMISE that we believe, nay we KNOW that Christ’s promise to Peter and his Papal Successors, despite the periodic and seemingly irreversible onslaught of skepticism, derision and all sorts of attack against the Mystical Body of Christ and His Vicar here on earth, even if as fearsome as the gates of hell -- is ROCK SOLID as ever in its TRUTH. Moreover, as many of us Catholics believe in the
And so dear Pope Benedict XVI, we who believe in you, unabashedly AFFIRM with fervent faith and humble contrition for our own shortcomings as people of God: “YES, we BELIEVE Our Lord’s solemn declaration that you are Peter! And upon such a Rock, our one, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church is FOREVER built and subsists, so that even Hell itself and the powers of death will NOT prevail against this Rock of Faith. For wherever sin of even the worst kind is found, yet truly God’s grace all the more abounds…”
Eduardo B. Olaguer
Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate