For many years, Catholic priests have been molesting children, and for seemingly as long the Pope has been whisking them away from prosecution to face “justice” at the Vatican.
At this point, Vatican City likely rivals only Thailand for the highest number of child molesting transients per capita. And now, Thailand West has a new resident, a new name on its Sexual Tourism Enthusiast Monthly mailing list — and a big name it is.
For those unfamiliar with the politics of righteousness, a “Papal Nuncio” is a holy diplomat appointed by the Vatican, and acts a full-fledged ambassador for the sovereign nation. Nuncios are appointed by the Pope to the Vatican’s foreign embassies, known as Nunciatures, and have the same international status as ambassadors from any other country under the Vienna Convention of 1961.
So, a “nuncio” is an official, vetted representative of the Church itself, in all the ways that a representative of something may be defined.
The locals of the Dominican Republic called him The Italian for his accent. It was only after the Vatican whisked him out of the country, and face ended up on the news, that a good number of local boys recognized him for who he was. Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, a Polish man personally ordained in 2000 by a Polish prelate named Karol Jozef Wojtyla — who later became Pope, and then Saint, John Paul II.
Immediately, local boys began flooding police departments with sets of oddly consistent stories. The Italian had found them on the streets, poor and destitute. After the initial meeting, the Archbishop would begin offering the young teen boys money for sexual favors. As the nature of the “favors” escalated, so did the money.
Francis Aquino Aneury says he met The Italian when he was 14 years old and working as a shoe-shine boy.
“He definitely seduced me with money. I felt very bad. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but I needed the money.”
And how much did he need the money? According to 2012 UN figures, the average per-person income in the Dominican Republic is right in between Namibia (the heart of sex trade in Africa) and…Thailand. Well, if that’s not an interesting coincidence.
Child molesting papal ambassador’s scandal rocks the Vatican.
The Papal Nuncio’s scandal has rocked The Vatican, Poland and the Dominican Republic alike. The latter two countries are just coming to grips with the systemic child molestation in their church, and the Dominican Republic’s relationship with the Church goes back further than anywhere in the Americas. In fact, the DR is home to the oldest cathedral on this side of the world (est circa 1512).
Now, 500 years after the Catholics set up shop in their impoverished nation, those of the Dominican Republic are demanding justice for the Archbishop’s exploitative sex tourism. The Dr wanted to press charges, possibly leading to the death penalty — but, unfortunately, the Nuncio (being a registered ambassador) is protected by a wonderful little policy called diplomatic immunity. Also, he’s out of town at the moment, facing justice at the Vatican.
And what is justice at the Vatican?
Bear in mind that here, this crime would be a minimum 5 and maximum 15-year prison sentence per offense. But in the Church, the harshest sentence is defrocking, or removal from the priesthood. Not excommunication, which might be a little severe. Just…you can’t hang out in the Staff dining Room anymore.
But, there may be an up-side to this story.
Under Vatican law (separate from the church canon), the maximum sentence for sexual abuse is 12 years in prison and $200,000 in fines — comparable to most civilized nations. Less comparable is the fact that those penalties and convictions are notoriously absent from a church utterly rife with known offenders. Pope Francis, though, may change that soon.
Having already pledged to move the Church into an era of “zero tolerance” for sexual offenders, it is possible that Francis may end up making an example of his former Archbishop. Some would say that he very nearly has to in order to retain any of the credibility he’s worked so hard to restore to the Vatican. Especially so in long-committed nations like the Dominican Republic and Poland.
So, while many would prefer the Vatican Ambassador be defrocked in a dark corner of a Dominican prison camp, some fair retribution isn’t beyond hope.
For our part, we’ll believe it when the Vatican brings back Catholic Justice Classic.
H/T: the New York Times