Deetman commission clarifies agreements with Public Prosecutor

Following the resignation of the Adriaenssens commission in Belgium, which may be partly due to a lack of good agreements with the Public Prosecutor (although the commission itself claims otherwise), its Dutch equivalent, the Deetman commission, has issued a clarification of its agreements with the state. Here it is in translation:

In Belgium, on 24 July 2010, the police seized files from a more or less comparable commission which investigates sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in that country. The police acted in this on orders from the investigating judge involved.

This seizure may prompt the question of what agreements the Dutch investigating commission on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church made with the Public Prosecutor. The Public Prosecutor leads investigations into punishable actions and prosecutes when that is reasonable.

In short the agreement is as follows. When the commission is informed of a fact that may be punishable and not subject to the statute of limitations, the commission will present it to the Public Prosecutor for investigation. The commission will do this at the slightest doubt. When the Public Prosecutor decides the fact is punishable, the commission will inform the victim. The Public Prosecutor asks the victim to consider prosecution.

Commission chairman Deetman made this agreement earlier this year with the College of Attorneys-General, the national management of the Public Prosecutor’s office.

Should the victim decide not to press charges, the commission will nonetheless ask the Church authorities to take suitable measures against the offender of sexual abuse. Deetman agreed with Church authorities that they will always take these measures in a possible situation.

These authorities also promised that they will share all the information required with the independent commission and will promote sharing of information by Church organisations not under their  direction.

Read the Dutch text here.

A host of new appointments in the curia

Archbishop Salvatore 'Rino' Fisichella

Pope Benedict appoint a number of people in significant positions in the Roman curia today. Some were expected and predicted correctly in the media, and some are relatively unknown outside the Vatican. Such a significant change, with more appointments rumoured to be coming later this week, is indicative of the future of this pontificate. The people in the curia have worldwide influence in their respective fields of work, so the appointments are not made casually. Pope Benedict XVI does nothing casually, anyway, so the appointments are just as much a seal of approval for the people involved as it is a way sign for the future.

Bishop Kurt Koch

As predicted, Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop if Québec, will become the new head of the Congregation for the Bishops, succeeding Giovanni Cardinal Re, and Archbishop Rino Fisichella will head the new Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation. His position as head of the Pontifical Academy for Life will be taken by Msgr. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula. The Lateran University has also gotten a new rector, and a new member has been added to the team of pontifical Masters of Ceremonies, headed by Msgr. Guido Marini. Swiss newspapers, in the meantime, are confirming that Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel will go to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, succeeding Walter Cardinal Kasper.

Men to keep an eye on, especially Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop Fisichella and Bishop Koch.