What is the specific need for such a book – Hope Springs Eternal in the Priestly Breast? The recent and explosive sex scandal in the Catholic Church has not only rocked the world, but gravely tarnished the image and credibility of Catholic priests. The road to restoring both will take a very, very long time. This book is an initial endeavour to ensure justice for all and to carve a new future of hope and trust.
Do priests have access to legal aid? In principle, they should; but in practice, they don’t.
Why is this so? Priests are committed to the service of the Church and God’s people. As such, they do not receive the equivalent of a professional’s salary, but nobly make do with the barest minimum. This could be in the vicinity of $1000.00 a month. After deductions for personal expenses, medical insurance and an annual holiday, there is little or nothing left. Standard legal fees, as is well known, are prohibitively expensive and far beyond their purse. As such, a priest, who is falsely accused, is both defenceless and helpless. As a matter of fact, he is ruined for life.
What makes this book so unique? Now that the dust has settled, it is imperative that none repeats the mistakes of the past. Stated differently, it is vitally important that all work together in ushering a new spirit and in carving a new future. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, once said so very aptly: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Is mandatory celibacy for Catholic priests the root cause of this particular problem?No! And this is corroborated by many reputable studies. Most regrettably the sexual exploitation of minors and the most vulnerable is far more widespread involving non-celibates and even the closest circle of relatives and acquaintances of the victims.
What is being done to repair the harm done and to restore the lost credibility and trust? 6.1Every ordinary and extraordinary measure has been adopted throughout the universal Catholic Church, principally to ensure the safety of minors and people in general.
6.2 Clear and definite codes of conduct are being strictly enforced and the behaviour of individuals is closely monitored.
6.3 Police checks are mandatory for all involved in the ministry, even those who serve as volunteers. These are periodically renewed.
6.4 Penalties for proven and culpable offenders and those who knowingly and wilfully shield them are drastic and definitive.