IRREGULAR TIMESThe Crime of Solicitation:
or, for those of you who speak in dead languages,Crimine Solicitationis

We here at Irregular Times have, until this time, held our tongues on the scandalous revelations of widespread sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children by priests of the Roman Catholic Church. We saw that, after some initial reluctance, the mainstream press has done a thorough job of covering the story.

However, one area where much of the mainstream press has dropped the ball on this story is in the recent release of a document from the highest levels in the Vatican. CBS News broke the story and has done a great job of explaining its importance. Other major news organizations, however, have remained strangely silent on the matter, even as the Boston archdiocese has reacted suddenly to the document's release by offering to settle the cases of victims of priests' abuse with a 55 million dollar payoff.

The English translation of the document known in Latin as Crimine Solicitationis was presented Carmen Durso of Boston and Daniel J. Shea of Houston presented to U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan as a part of the ongoing investigation of the sexual abuse of thousands of children by Catholic priests in the United States and elsewhere around the world. The document was obtained from U.S. Air Force Maj. Thomas Doyle, a Catholic chaplain and expert on the Catholic canon. It was Doyle who translated the document from Latin into English.

It appears that the document was created within the highest offices of the Vatican, and has been recognized by the current and past Pope since 1962. Pope John Paul appears to have used the document until recently, when the scandal of a coverup of an epidemic of sexual abuse by priests was exposed. Even then, the document remained secret until August of 2003.

Larry Drivon, a lawyer for some of the victims of sexual abuse by priests, calls the document "a blueprint for deception... an instruction manual on how to deceive and how to protect pedophiles."

Reading Crimine Solicitationis ourselves, we're struck at how much protection the document offers to abusive priests, while making it extremely difficult for priests' victims to seek justice. For example, the document threatens excommunication against victims who do not come forward with claims of sexual abuse within 30 days of being assaulted by priests. That's right, not only does the Catholic Church place an extremely brief statute of limitations of 30 days on victims who are often children, but it threatens tho kick them out of the Catholic Church if they reveal the crime of a priest at a later time.

We're also taken aback at how this Vatican document makes excommunication a punishment for revealing the crimes of priests to anyone outside the Catholic Church's small inquisitions, but suggests that priests who are found to have sexually abused children may continue to perform many of their duties and may be relocated in order to avoid "scandal".

In the United States, making threats against people in order to prevent them from reporting crimes to legal authorities is a crime. Yet, that's just what the Catholic Church appears to have done. What's more, this document proves that the Church has done so not just through the misguided efforts of a few bishops acting on their own, but under the direction of the highest levels of leadership in Rome itself, with the knowledge of the Pope.

This document was kept secret from victims and their families, even as they attempted to gain justice through the legal system. These are not the actions of a church that has the interests of its members at heart. The problem is so institutional, so corrupt, that some people are comparing the Vatican to the mafia. Says Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest himself, "It's happened in every diocese in this country."

Unlike the leaders of the Catholic Church, we here at Irregular Times aren't interested in keeping secrets from people. That's why we're publishing selections this Vatican document, kept secret from the "faithful" for generations, for you to peruse at your own desire. Read up, and make up your own mind.

Albert G. Smith
Editor-In-Chief, Irregular Times

Want to read the entire document? We've got the main body of the document available in searchable format. For the whole thing, view the PDF, at the link below.

And before he is dismissed, there should be presented to him, as above, an oath of observing the secret, threatening him, if there is a need, with an excommunication reserved to the Ordinary or to the Holy See (Cfr. n. 13).


If, on the other hand, the Ordinary and the promoter of justice agree together, or in some way the promoter of justice does not make his recourse to the Holy Office, then the Ordinary, if he has decreed that the specific delict of solicitation was not present, should order the Acts to be put into the secret archives,

--- is far better, above any exception, to summon persons, who are familiar with both the one denounced and the one denouncing. These persons, with the notary present (cfr, n, 9), who is to put the interrogations and responses in writing, [are put] under the sanctity of an oath to tell the truth and to observe its secret nature, accompanied by the threat, if it seems necessary, of excommunication.


The admonition, concerning which treatment is made in the preceding number with the letter (c), is always to be given secretly; it can be done, however, through a letter or by an intermediary, but in each case, it must be clear from some document to be kept in the secret archives of the Curia (cfr Canon 2390, 1 and 5), adding the information about the manner in which the accused accepted it.


If, after the first admonition, other accusations against the same accused take place concerning solicitations, preceding the admonition itself, the Ordinary should see, according to his own choice and conscience, whether the first admonition should be considered sufficient or whether he should proceed to a new admonition or even to further measures (Ibiden, 6).


As often as, in the prudent judgment of the Ordinary, it seems necessary for the amendment of the delinquent, for the removal of the near occasion [of soliciting in the future], or for the prevention of scandal or reparation for it, there should be added a prescription for a prohibition of remaining in a certain place (Canon 2302).


All these official communications shall always be made under the secret of the Holy Office; and since they concern the common good of the church to the greatest degree, the precept of doing these things obliges under serious sin [sub gravi].

Want to read the entire document? We've got the main body of the document available in searchable format. For the whole thing, view the PDF, at the link below.

Due to their extreme length, Irregular Times has not transcribed the appendices, which are described by one lawyer as a guide for priests on how to conduct a rigged trial sure to let pedophile priests off the hook. We do have it, however, along with the rest of this document, right here in PDF format.

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