A secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church is examined by the BBC’s Panorama.
This secret directive, called Crimen Sollicitationis, was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the current Pope. It instructs bishops on how to deal with allegations of child abuse against priests and has been seen by few outsiders. Critics say the document has been used to evade prosecution for sex crimes.
This investigative documentary focuses on the overall patterns of sexual abuse from Catholic priests and goes further than most examinations by asserting that the church policy of covering up as much as possible was quite well established decades ago. It then takes its investigation a step further to make the explosive allegation that the current Pope was well aware of the policy and its creation and implementation decades ago when he was a Cardinal.
Spotlight is a Link TV weekly presentation of investigative reports from around the world. Commentary is provided by prominent authors and journalists. This episode is hosted by Lakshmi Chaudhry, who has been a reporter and editor for independent publications, including Mother Jones and AlterNet, for over six years. She is currently a senior editor at In These Times.