The first article examined the figures put forward by the CIASE, in order to question them. They seemed implausible, in particular because the report attributed a number of victims per attacker, which is absolutely not credible.
The second article examined the explanatory reasons provided by the Commission, and noted their glaring insufficiency, as well as the incompetence of the members to make certain judgments which they did not hesitate to propose. He then put forward causes already pointed out by Benedict XVI.
The recommendations of the Sauvé Commission
The Analysis of the CIASE report, proposed by eight members of the Catholic Academy of France, contains very interesting remarks on the vocabulary used.
The text notes in fact that “The terminology of the Commission oscillates between ‘recommendations (or encouragement)’ (9 occurrences), ‘proposals’ (5 occurrences) and ‘recommendations’ (39 occurrences). A fine chronology shows the transition from ‘recommendations’ (early 2020) to ‘recommendations’ (September 2021). The Trésor de la langue française defines “recommend” as “strongly and insistently recommending something (to someone)”.
A way of “demanding” changes from the Catholic Church deemed necessary. This is what Mr. Sauvé declared on October 5 to Le Figaro: “This report will be a failure if most of our 45 recommendations are not acted upon.
These 45 recommendations contain mixed advice for dealing with cases of mistreatment – past and future – of which, as Jean-Marie Guénois says in Le Figaro, “more than a third have already been implemented since the 2000s in the world and in France. Church, another large third is already in action in a majority of dioceses, especially since 2015. “
In addition, there are proposals which directly touch on dogma and which should be emphasized to show that the Commission has largely gone beyond the red line of its mission.
Recommendation n ° 4 proposes to “evaluate, for the Church of France, the perspectives opened up by the proposals of the Amazonian Synod, in particular the suggestion that ad experimentum,… married men can be ordained priests…”
As the Analysis notes, the Commission quotes the Instrumentum laboris of the Synod, which is only a preparatory document without official value, unlike the Post-Synodal Exhortation (Querida Amazonia) who did not address this point. It is moreover a misunderstanding, since it is not at all in this perspective that the proposal is made, but in the hope of alleviating the lack of vocations.
It should then be noted that this point is of interest to the universal Church, as Cardinal Marc Ouellet reminded the German bishops. He sent them an analysis of their draft Synod Statutes which noted that the subjects to be dealt with, notably the “priestly way of life”, “do not concern only the Church in Germany, but the universal Church, and that these subjects – with some exceptions – cannot be the subject of resolutions and decisions of a particular Church.
In addition, the text assumes that marital status would be safer against abuse, and makes it superior to consecrated virginity. The Church, since Saint Paul in the first letter to Corinthians 7:38, teaches the contrary.
Finally, the proposition is absurd. It is explained in the report that the vast majority of abuse – in general – is committed within the family circle. Do we want to add this risk factor for priests?
This is why this recommendation is impious, contrary to Sacred Scripture and to the Tradition of the Church on virginity, and ultimately absurd.
Recommendation n ° 8 conceals an attack on the secrecy of confession: “Communicate a clear message, issued directly by the ecclesiastical authorities, telling confessants and faithful that the seal of confession cannot derogate from the obligation provided for by law and the [French] Criminal Code – which is, in the opinion of the Commission, compatible with the obligation of natural divine right to protect the life and dignity of the person – to report to the judicial and administrative authorities all cases of sexual violence inflicted on a child or a vulnerable person. “
In other words, a Commission having no competence in the matter, opposes the divine positive law, preached by Jesus Christ, and the civil law, in defiance of the martyrs of the confession who died for having kept silence on what had been to them. entrusted in this sacrament.
Moreover, the analyzes which followed the incident caused by a word from Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, showed that this obligation is non-existent. The proposal is clearly and to say the least ungodly.
Recommendation n ° 11 attacks the practice of morality in the Church: “Examine [passer au crible] how the paradoxical obsession of Catholic morality with questions of sexuality could be counterproductive in the fight against sexual abuse.
The vocabulary – another remark from the Analysis – is particularly lively, for the term used, “to sift”, means “to submit something to a selection, a ruthless criticism”.
This unhealthy fixation of the Church on sexual matters exists only in the minds of depraved men. Throughout its long history, the Church has exalted chastity in all its forms: perfect by the vow of virginity, conjugal between spouses. It is moreover a specificity which is specific to it. Rather, it is the proposition that shows fixation. It is wrong.
Recommendation n ° 23 (and n ° 24) gives a painful explanation of the systemic aspect: “Recognize, for the entire period analyzed by the Commission, the civil and social responsibility of the Church, independently of individual fault and criminal and civil perpetrators of sexual violence and, where applicable, Church officials.
In other words, a responsibility of Christ Himself in some way, as Head of the Mystical Body. It is contempt for a well-known rule: “abuseus non tollit usus” or “abuse does not eliminate use”. It is not because some people abused – and terribly – their work that it is in itself bad and that it generated the observed abuses.
By this yardstick, should we immediately recognize that families in themselves generate abuses, and perhaps ask that they be abolished? While the vast majority of families do not suffer any abuse in themselves. Just as 97% of priests lived their priesthood in purity and honor.
Recommendation no.34 targets power in the Church: “The commission deems it appropriate to scrutinize (sift):
– the hierarchical constitution of the Catholic Church in view of internal disagreements concerning its own understanding of itself: between communion and hierarchy; between apostolic succession and synodality; and, essentially, between the assertion of the authority of pastors and the reality of field practices increasingly influenced by democratic practices;
– the concentration of powers of order and governance in the hands of the same person, which leads to insisting on the rigorous exercise of power and, in particular, on respecting the distinction between internal forum and external forum.
The Commission’s assertion is confused. And anyone who knows the requirements of the German Synodal Path immediately recognizes the kinship.
The authors think according to a model of society identified with modern democracy. They completely forget the fact that Christ did not found the Church in this way. As Tradition says, with Saint Pius X, the Church has a monarchical and aristocratic structure.
Monarchical, because there is a supreme leader, the Sovereign Pontiff, who has full power over the Church as recalled by Vatican Council I. And, in each diocese, the bishop has the same power known as “pastoral”. “. It is part of the divine constitution of the Church.
This is why this proposal comes close to heresy, because this power has always been recognized and taught by the Church as coming from her divine Founder.
Recommendation no. 36 states: “The Commission considers that with regard to the principle of equal dignity, a much greater presence of the laity in general, and of women in particular, is required among the decision-makers of the Catholic Church.
This recommendation is found iteratively in the German Synodal Path. You must first make the same remark as in no. 4, of the sole competence of the universal Church.
But then we must affirm that it is faithful that the subject of sacred ordination – priestly or episcopal – can only be a male individual. And that it is the hierarchy, which associates with priests without being part of them, which possesses the powers given by God, as was said in the previous number.
The proposal therefore deserves the same criticism and the same theological appreciation.
Recommendation n ° 43 takes up the attack on the secrecy of confession and should be associated with no. 8.
On the other hand – and it should be noted – recommendation no. 45 proposes measures to keep the necessary distance between the priest and the faithful and to avoid an intimacy which can easily prove to be dangerous. These are traditional in the Church – but much less today: space. Keep a physical space between the priest and the penitent during confession.
The real solution
Promoting structural change requires proving that this is the problem. However, nothing proves it, quite the contrary. The constitution of the Church, desired by its divine Founder, is oriented towards the sanctification of souls.
But the real solution necessarily involves a renewal of the priestly spirit – and of course of the episcopal spirit – for a real search for holiness. Because these culprits who left so much misery behind them, behaved like deserters on this point.
As they are sinners, they are not of the Church. As Cardinal Charles Journet said so well: “the border of the Church passes through my heart”, which any Christian can say. It is because they did not want to follow the teaching of Christ and his Church, with all the practical elements that this entails, that they went astray.
Alas! the fault of the priests is always the most terrible: corruptio optimi, pessima. “The corruption of the best – in terms of their place in the Church – is the worst.” As Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre pointed out, most of the heresiarchs in the history of the Church have been priests or bishops.
Unfortunately, the Church has known many other crises in which the moral values of the clergy have been deeply affected: it suffices to cite the Nicolaitan crisis in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, that is to say the misconduct of many priests. and even bishops, living in marriage.
The Gregorian reform – of Saint Gregory VII – aimed to abolish these terrible abuses. Saint Peter Damien vigorously fought this scourge. And what has contributed most to reestablishing discipline is the foundation of new orders, imbued with the spirit of the Church and of Christ, in which the popes have placed their confidence and which have admirably served the Church. Church in this recovery effort.
But today, the horizon is obscured by the Second Vatican Council, which gradually dried up, in various ways – liturgical, disciplinary, even dogmatic – the sources on which it is necessary to draw in order to operate this recovery.
For it is only in the Cross of Christ, fully lived, that salvation is found, and not in an “abuse of abuse” in an attempt to further destroy the Church. We know that “the gates of hell will not prevail against her” (Mt 16,18), it is our hope, and the encouragement to work with all our soul and with all our strength to “reestablish everything in the Christ ”(Eph 1:10).