I’m 70 years old, I’ve always heard about cases of pedophilia in general and especially in the Catholic Church. Strange, therefore, those who are astonished by the numbers or who show strangeness in relation to their greatness. Hypocrisy has its limits. Marcelo is also no exception to the rule. After downplaying the number of pedophilia crimes in the Church, he now appears astonished. This position leads me to fear that we will not go all the way with the discovery of the truth.
The commission’s conclusions are unambiguous. There are still Church people in office who have committed heinous crimes. Will swift action be taken to ensure that justice is done? And will those who knew about the crimes and did nothing to prevent the pedophiles from continuing to be criminals be denounced and brought to justice? Will the Church financially compensate victims for the crimes committed? It hasn’t taken a stand yet. I have doubts about the measures to be taken to prevent these horrible crimes within the Church, as many devalue and devalue the work of this commission.
Carlos Oliveira, Funchal
Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church
I am not a psychologist, nor do I have any scientific or theological training that would allow me to come up with sustainable theses on these issues. That said, I don’t want to leave out an opinion, which will be worth what it’s worth: in Churches emerging from the Lutheran-Calvinist Reformation or the English Reformation, events like these either do not seem to exist, or are very rare. Why? I would say that the reason is the absence of obligatory celibacy for the clergy. This rule, against nature, could be at the base of all these sad attitudes of some members of the clergy; and I cannot forget the phrase of our Friar Bartolomeu dos Mártires, when the Council of Trent decided on the matter: “What will become of my priests from Barroso!” As for the offenders, they must be punished. One last word, to congratulate João Miguel Tavares for yet another excellent chronicle, the one published yesterday, and also to congratulate (and thank) Pedro Strecht and his colleagues on the committee.
Manuel Guedes-Vieira, Lisbon
Church and the Unforgivable
The Church asks for forgiveness from those who have been mistreated, but this is not enough. In fact, I think it will be something completely innocuous, given the damage caused. At the very least, the Church should pay for all the therapeutic follow-up of the injured. In relation to prescribed cases, the Church should still provide support. If there were accusations, Church superiors should speak to the people concerned, asking them for the truth; being Catholic, they won’t lie to you (or will…). An undeniable procedure is to act legally, but another aspect to add to this, or to apply, even if legal action is not possible, will be not only psychological support, but also, even if through a kind of confidential confession, identifying who acted badly and expelled them from the Church. What happened is unforgivable; simply because it is not a simple lack of morals; more than that, it is a violence that will have caused affective amputations, which will have removed integrity for an indefinite period, which will have created a spiritual and psychic illness that cannot be resolved with the word “forgiveness”.
Luis Filipe Rodrigues, Santo Tirso
It has been going on for a long time and it was commonplace that within the Catholic Church in Portugal, and beyond, sexual abuse of minors by the clergy hierarchy had taken place. And, certainly, they will still occur, but in much smaller numbers, we say.
The human being is very imperfect, although he practices sublime acts. But, taking into account the sacramental content of the priesthood, such abuses are truly execrable and inadmissible, as such a sinful stain will never be forgiven, no matter how many apologies are made.
Jose Amaral, Vila Nova de Gaia
The danger of pressure cookers
Anyone knows that a pressure cooker has a steam release valve, and a second safety valve. Imagine that in any country there was a prosperous manufacturer that produced pressure cookers without a valve, and that there were no reports of accidents. We would have to conclude that only in a state controlled by the friends of the manufacturer would it be possible to hide the accidents that would inevitably occur.
This is what happened for centuries with the celibacy of the Catholic Church: only oppressive social control, even if it was far removed from the horrors of the Inquisition, prevented abusive practices that victimized thousands of children throughout the territory from being brought to the light of Justice. Now they say they will do it differently, despite continuing to insist on celibacy for priests. The Anglican Church solved the problem a long time ago, and its pastors are not known to perform their duties worse than Catholics. If the same causes produce the same effects, is there any sense in insisting on a dogma that has completely failed?
José Cavalheiro, Matosinhos