Abuse: Czech Republic*

This post has moved to my new domain at http://queering-the-church.com/blog

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2 Responses to “Abuse: Czech Republic*”

  1. Etienne Caruana Says:

    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.

    • Terence@queerchurch Says:

      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.


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