After years of sexual abuse allegations, the Catholic Church is finally taking serious action against churchmen in high positions around the world.
Cover-ups and sex-related scandals are no longer swept under the rug by the Catholic Church in a new brave attempt by leader Pope Francis to bring justice to victims of clergy sex abuse.
The archbishop and deputy archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis have been laid off duty by Pope Francis since Monday following the prosecution charged the archdiocese for failing to protect children and covering up the unspeakable conduct of one of the priests of the archdiocese.
The two accused are John Nienstedt, the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and his Auxiliary Bishop, Lee Anthony Piche.
A separate case sees the Vatican indicting the former ambassador to the Dominican Republic on accusations of child pornoghraphy, child prostitution and sexual misconduct.
All of these cases will be also be in the attention of the new Vatican tribunal installed by Pope Francis to specifically address the issues of child sexual abuse in any manner by Catholic clergy around the world.
In the case of the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the canon law was invoked to let the two men resign due to ‘grave’ motives that do not allow them to keep office any longer. These ‘grave’ motives are in fact the prosecution’s case against the two former high-position clergymen stating that they fully ignored and covered up the reports of one priest having molested children.
While the name of the priest of the archdiocese was not unveiled for the press, it is known that currently he is charged with the sexual abuse of two boys.
The current developments have been sourced by Mrs. Jennifer Haselberger who worked as an archivist for the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis. She was labeled a whistleblower when she revealed to the public the intricate system through which records of complaints directed at certain individuals who allegedly abused minors sexually were hidden and then made lost along with backgrounds.
This came in stark contrast to demands coming from the U.S. Bishop for this type of behavior to no longer be tolerated.
Former diocesan canon-lawyer, Mrs. Haselberger stated at the time of her revelations that she had warned Nienstedt about all the risks brought about by sweeping records under the carpet and ignoring calls for justice. The result was her slowly being pushed out until she eventually resigned.
But that was just the beginning of the story. With the public’s attention caught by the Haselberger’s allegations, Archbishop Nienstedt was drawn into the ensuing scandal. He was accused of sexual misconduct himself, but refused at the time to step down.
Now, both the Archbishop and Auxiliary Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis were relieved of duties by Pope Francis after invoking the diocesan canon-law and without clear indications as to what the grave reasons could be.
This leaves an open question as to whether the two could be trialled by the upcoming Vatican court since they are no longer members of the Catholic clergy.
An even more powerful case is that of former Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The start of July will see the trial of Jozef Wesolowski in the Vatican court on charges of child sexual abuse, possession of child pornography, and child prostitution.
Wesolowski is 66 years old and is the highest ranking official of the Vatican to be arrested for sexual abuse charges involving minors. During his time as papal nuncio in the Dominican Republic, Wesolowski was reported to be seen walking around the beaches in civilian attire, looking to pick up the child prostitutes on the shores.
When he was recalled in Rome in August 2013 the Vatican did not give details for his removal. In January 2014, it was announced that Jozef Wesolowski will be trialed in the criminal court of Vatican for child abuse and pedophilia.
The evidence to the case is overwhelming. Over 100,000 files on the personal laptop showcasing disturbing images and videos of children and young teens between 13 and 17 involved in sexual relations with either adults or with each other.
The criminal trial is not only conducted in the Vatican Court. Jozef Wesolowski is facing the same charges in the Dominican Republic and in Poland. He was defrocked in June 2014 and now awaits his trial.
All these cases are just a step forward to curbing the worrying practices within the Catholic church, that seem to surface more and more. Hopefully, efforts to bring clergymen in the face of justice are just beginning will pick up the pace in the years to follow.
Image Source: Catholic Herald