| Year 2004 Canonical Studies pp. 33-44
Sexual Abuse of Children and Young People by Catholic Priests and Religious:
Description of the Problem from a Church Perspective
(Msgr. Charles J Scicluna)
PAGE 1: (Click here)

1. Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clerics is a grave violation of divine positive and ecclesiastical law

The Sexual abuse of minors has always been considered as a grave violation of the Christian Ethos. It has always been included among the types of conduct proscribed by the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue: A You shall not commit adultery (Deuteronomy 5, 18).

The Gospel of Matthew reports the very strong words of Our Lord Jesus Christ concerning scandal to the little ones: If anyone of you put a stumbling block (scandal) before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks (scandals)! Occasions for stumbling (scandals) are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block (scandal) comes! (Mt 18, 6-7). The Apostle Paul condemns all sorts of debauchery: Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomite, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robber – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6, 9-10). In his letter to the Ephesians the same Apostle warns: “Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them” (Eph. 5, 5-7).

The doctrine is confirmed in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, for Example in Justin (around AD 153: First Apology 27, 1-4)1; Athenagoras (around AD 177: A Plea for the Christians 34)2; and Polycarp who wrote in AD 135: Àln like manner also the younger men must be blameless in all things, caring for purity before everything and curbing themselves from every evil. … neither whoremongers (pornoi) or effeminate persons (malakoi) nor defilers of themselves with men and boys (arsenokoitai) Shall inherit the kingdom of God, neither they that do untoward things (atopa). Wherefore it is right to abstain from all these things, submitting yourselves to the presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ@ (Letter to the Philippians, 5, 3)3.

----------------------------------------------------
1. Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Translation of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325 (ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson) Vol. II Justin Martyr and Athenagoras (Translated by Marcus Dods, George Reith, B. P. Pratten) (Edinburgh 1868) pp. 30-31.

2. Ante-Nicene Christian Library. Translation of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325 (ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson) Vol. II Justin Martyr and Athenagoras (Translated by Marcus Dods, George Reith, B. P. Pratten) (Edinburgh 1868) pp. 418-419; legatio and De Resurrectione (edited and translated by William R. Schoedel) (Oxford 1972) pp. 80-83.

3. The Apostolic Fathers (With an English Translation by Kirsopp Lake) Vol. 1 (London 1975) pp. 288-291.

PAGE 2: (Click here)
PAGE 3: (Click here)
PAGE 4: (Click here)
PAGE 5: (Click here)
PAGE 6: (Click here)
PAGE 7: (Click here)
PAGE 8: (Click here)