The M+G+R Foundation
The World Seen From Rome and Reported by Zenit
Some Offenses by
Priests to Be Judged Exclusively by Tribunal
Papal Document Focuses
on Pederasty and Wrongdoing Involving Sacraments
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8,
2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has decided that some offenses by
priests involving the Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation, and
pederasty will be judged exclusively by the Tribunal of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In a document issued "motu proprio" -- that is, on his
own initiative -- the Pope outlined the rules. He signed the document,
"Sacramentorum Sanctitati Tutela" (Tutelage of the Holiness of the
Sacraments), last April 30 and had it sent to all bishops some time
ago. It is recorded in the January issue of the "Acta Apostolicae
Sedis" (Acts of the Apostolic See).
The one-and-a-half page text, published in Latin, refers
to a four-page document of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of
This text, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect
of the congregation, lists four "grave offenses" of priests against the
Eucharist, three against the sacrament of reconciliation, and one
The congregation´s document indicates as grave
offenses ("delicta") a priest´s "taking, keeping or throwing away
the Holy Species for sacrilegious ends; committing an outrage against
the liturgy of the eucharistic sacrifice or parodying it;
concelebrating with priests of ecclesial communities that do not follow
the apostolic succession or do not recognize the sacramental dignity of
priestly ordination; consecrating one of the materials [bread and wine]
and not the other for sacrilegious reasons, or consecrating both
outside the eucharistic celebration."
The same document then explains the grave offenses
against the sacrament of reconciliation: "To give absolution to someone
who is an accomplice [of the priest] in a sin against the Sixth
Commandment; to invite on the occasion, at the moment, or with the
pretext of confession to sin against the Sixth Commandment; to violate
directly the secret of confession."
The Sixth Commandment is "You shall not commit
Pederasty is the crime against customs. It
is a "sin against the Sixth Commandment committed between a minor
younger than 18 years, and a priest."
In virtue of these norms, issued by the congregation at
the Pope´s request, any bishop or superior of a religious order
or congregation who is aware of such offenses or crimes committed by
priests is obliged to "carry out investigations" and to send the
results to the Vatican congregation.
As of late today [January 8, 2002], the document had not
yet appeared on the Vatican Web page.