A reader pointed out to me that the Boston Globe has also picked up on the story of Vatican legal scholar Rev. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, who believes church leaders “are neither morally nor judicially responsible for the acts committed by one of their clergy.”. They add this tidbit to the Times’ story, where Ghirlanda indicates that he doesn’t think accused priests should be subjected to any kind of psychological examination:
“To our thinking, it’s not admissible that the incriminated cleric be forced to undergo a psychological investigation to determine if his personality is inclined to commit the crimes in question” (as quoted in the Globe).
Given that Ghirlanda does agree that priests who are likely to abuse again should not be placed in parishes (“If the bishop fears the priest could again commit a crime, then he must not entrust to the priest a parish, but must act in a different way.” — the one note of sense in this) we are left to speculate exactly how this determination should be made. Since (according to the Times, at least), Ghirlanda has already said he doesn’t think Church leaders should turn over allegations of abuse to civil authorities, I guess we’re back to putting our faith in the good judgment of the Princes of the Church.
Correction: In my previous note on this subject, I implied that Rev. Ghirlanda wrote the words “Roman Catholic bishops should not turn over allegations or records of sexual abuse by priests to the civil authorities” in his article. Although the Times indicates that this was the substance of his argument, the quote was from the Times’ phrasing, not Ghirlanda’s. Apologies for the confusion.