Theologians and Clergy Call for More Transparent Vatican Investigations

Censured priest Tony Flannery was one of the signatories of the letter calling for reform in Vatican investigations. © NIALL CARSON/PA WIRE URN:15582135 (PRESS ASSOCIATION VIA AP IMAGES)

Censured priest Tony Flannery was one of the signatories of the letter calling for reform in Vatican investigations. © NIALL CARSON/PA WIRE URN:15582135 (PRESS ASSOCIATION VIA AP IMAGES)

A group of Catholic theologians, priests and bishops have written a letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), calling for the Vatican office to change its procedures for investigations “contrary to natural justice and in need of reform,” the National Catholic Reporter reported in April. Signatories included Fr. Tony Flannery, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Loretto Sr. Jeannine Gramick, St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson and Australian bishop William Morris, all of whom were the subjects of CDF investigations. The letter was also sent to Pope Francis.

Currently, those under investigation are not allowed direct contact with their accusers and the CDF often acts as “investigator, accuser, judge and jury,” according to the letter, which points out that the process can “drag on for years.” The writers propose doing away with anonymous denunciations and instituting a committee set up by the Secretariat of the World Synod of Bishops, the Tablet reported.

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