Fr. Tom Doyle responds to the “smoking gun” document

Fr. Tom Doyle, one of the three men who wrote the first major report for the US bishops conference in the 1980s giving the first warnings about the Scandal, has had his name attached to the 1962 Vatican document on solicitiation by confessors which some have called a smoking gun showing a Vatican conspiracy for a cover-up. He sent out a statement last night in which he says he did not translate the document from Latin to English and that he was not aware that the document would be distributed to the media and other lawyers by the lawyer he gave it to. Obviously, the lawyer who released it was interested in trying his case in public and dealt with Fr. Doyle in the same underhanded way he dealt with the Church. Here is his statement:

The recently revealed Vatican document outlining the procedures for dealing with cases of solicitation of sex by priest-confessors has caused a swell of alarm and surprise on the part of survivors, attorneys and others. Since my name has been associated with the news reports I wish to state that I did not translate the document. I am aware of at least two separate English translations, both of which are private and unofficial. I was asked by an attorney if I could provide a copy of the document which had been cited in the May 18, 2001 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on handling cases of certain grave canonical offenses. I was not aware that the 1962 document would be circulated to the media and to other attorneys. Had I been told this I would have insisted that a commentary and explanation by a competent canonist accompany the text. Failure to do so has led to some degree of misunderstanding of the historical role of the document and its relevance to the contemporary sexual abuse crisis in the church.

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