Rome, July 17 (ANI): The Vatican has denied accusations that it viewed the ordination of women as priests and the sexual abuse of minors by clerics as equally criminal.
However, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's internal prosecutor for handling sexual abuse cases, said that there is no attempt to make women's ordination and paedophilia comparable crimes under canon law.
"This is not putting everything into one basket, they are in the same document but this does not put them on the same level or assign them the same gravity," Scicluna said.
He further stated that the document is an attempt to update norms concerning "three sets of canonical crimes that are distinct," and whose jurisdiction is reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal department.
"While sexual abuse was a crime against morality, the attempt to ordain a woman was a crime against a sacrament, this should not be interpreted as considering all these crimes to be equal, they are crimes of a different nature," he said, referring to the Holy Orders.
It may be recalled that the Vatican had issued a document making sweeping revisions to its laws on sexual abuse, extending the period in which charges can be filed against priests in church courts and broadening the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them.
The inclusion of both issues in the same document caused a stir among some groups around the world, particularly those favouring a female priesthood.
"The Vatican's decision to list women's ordination in the same category as paedophiles and rapists is appalling," Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference said.
She called the decision "medieval at best". (ANI)