I sometimes wonder whether or not the Church authorities follow, or at least have heard of, two very basic principles of Roman law that have found their way even in modern administrative law and praxis. They are “culpa in eligendo” and “culpa in vigilando”. The former – culpa in eligendo – loosely translated as culpability for the choice of persons, applies to the responsibility that an authority has towards third parties for the actions of those working for (or under) that authority. The second principle – culpa in vigilando – focuses on the culpability due to lack of oversight/vigilance, where an authority is responsible towards third parties for the failure to rein in the misconduct of subordinates. Both principles apply to the issue of clerical abuse as it has developed. There is culpa in eligendo where, for example, it can be proven that a priest with a suspect past (i.e., there were already complaints of abuse) is given a new posting that poses new risks for third parties. There is culpa in vigilando where complaints/reports were not followed up and investigated thoroughly, and proper action taken as quickly as possible. What is the point I am trying to make? Simply this, those at the top are responsible for the actions of their subordinates. Resignation is a minimum requirement, if confidence in the institution is to be regained.
Thanks for this this information, Etienne. To even a casual observer, it should be obvious that there is culpability where lack of supervision has caused damge, but it is good to have it so clearly stated as a legal principle. The concept (as well as the words) of culpa in eligendo is completely new to me, but makes intuitive sense. The need for resignation is becoming clearer to me by the day, but there is little evidence that B 16 sees it that way.
The really fundamental problem is that he has spent his entire career locked in an ivory tower, with not even significant pastoral experience, and now totally removed from the basic responsibility of answering to anyone. the cardinals who elected him are beholden to him for their jobs, while the rest of the clergy are even further from his thoughts, at least in respect of his accountability to them. As for the laity, their position is clear: he is the “Holy Father”, guiding and instructing them: everything in the Church is a one way process.
Outside the Church, there is no secular power with any jurisdiction over the Vatican’s tiny patch – but he controls a world wide army of officials who attempt to exert powerful influence on the political process.
A papal resignation alone is not enough. We must also introduce a system of accountability, and checks from below, to end this one way street of direction from above, oblivious to any messages from below or outside the Vatican bubble.
Rev. James Lewis Stoll, who died on December 8th 1994, was a Unitarian Universalist minister who became the first ordained minister of any religion in the United States or Canada to come out as gay. He did so at the annual Continental Conference of Student Religious Liberals on September 5, 1969 in La Foret, Colorado. Later, he led the effort that convinced […]
CHARLES DE FOUCAULD (Brother Charles of Jesus) was born in Strasbourg, France on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.He lost his faith as an adolescent.His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he c […]
In Catholic spiritual tradition, there is an important and honoured place for the idea of "The Bride of Christ". At one level, we are taught to think of the Church as a whole as such a bride of Christ, and the wedding at Cana as a metaphor for the marriage of Christ to his bride, the Church. At another level, religious women think of themselves as […]
b. May 22, 1930 d. November 27, 1978Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to a significant public office when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He served eleven months before he was assassinated."The important thing is not that we can live on hope alone, but that life is not worth living without it. […]
In Catholic tradition, Longinus is the name given to the Roman centurion at the crucifixion who pierced Christ's side with his spear. Some writers, like Paul Halsall of the LGBT Catholic Handbook, also identify him with the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his "beloved boy", who was ill. It is this second person that I am interested in here. […]
There is an important distinction between "faith", which refers to belief and a relationship with the divine, and "religion", which refers primarily to the human structures which support it, with their rules, rituals, and clerical castes. They are obviously linked, interdependent, and ideally, support each other. There are grave dangers t […]
Sane and rational discussion of the Bible and same-sex relationships are bedevilled by difficulties with language, arising from problems with translations on the one hand, and vastly different cultural conditions which make it difficult sometimes to make sense of the applicability of the words, even where the literal meaning is clear. This is especially imp […]
The Ethiopian Eunuch is our most famous trancestor. However, there are many more scattered through the Bible, both visible and invisible. We shall meet many more later. -Lewis ReayThe Many Eunuchs Hidden in ScriptureThere are numerous trans themes and characters in Scripture. If these are not immediately familiar to us, this is because often, they are simply […]
One of the great paradox's of queer church history is that a period of extreme persecution of "sodomites" by the Inquisition, directly at their own hands or indirectly by secular authorities at their instigation, largely coincided with a remarkable series of popes who had sex with men, who protected family and friends who did so, or spent vast […]
James Alison is another important theologian for gay men, although he described himself not as a "gay theologian", but as a theologian who writes from a gay (male) perspective. He was formerly a Dominican priest, who like Fr John McNeill,, was forced out of the priesthood for daring to speak honestly, in his case about gay priests. He has since cre […]
Yes, really - in a manner of speaking. Browsing through the Catechism section on sexuality, which you will find under the sixth commandment, I was struck by two passages in particular:"Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity." (2333)and"Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological wor […]
At Religion Dispatches Magazine, Louis A. Ruprecht makes an important point: One of the more striking things about all of the ink that has been spilled over California’s now- infamous Proposition 8, and its long legal aftermath, is the almost reflexive assumption on all sides that marriage, somehow, is a norm, a desirable norm. And so the argument swiftly be […]
The five co-defendants sit close enough to shake hands in the Philadelphia courtroom, but they never once acknowledge one another. Father James Brennan, a 47-year-old priest accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, looks sad and stooped in a navy sweater, unshaven and sniffling. Edward Avery, a defrocked priest in his sixties, wears an unsettlingly pleasant expr […]
"A LEADING child protection expert has urged the Victorian government to hold a public inquiry into the handling of child-sex cases by a Catholic religious order after the Catholic Church suppressed a report it asked him to write. Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson wrote yesterday to the Victorian Attorney-General, Robert Clark, and Polic […]
The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has admitted that "a cabal" protecting clerical sex abusers may be operating at the highest levels in the Catholic Church. Dr Martin said: "There may be a cabal in Cloyne. They may have friends in other parts of the Irish Church. They may have friends in Irish society. There may be friends in the Vat […]