In this episode (aired on October 1st, 2006) BBC’s Panorama examines ‘Crimen Sollicitationis’.
‘Crimen Sollicitationis’ is a secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. This document was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the Pope (Benedict XVI). It instructs bishops on how to deal with allegations of child abuse against priests and has been seen by few outsiders. Critics say the document has been used to evade prosecution for sex crimes.
Crimen Sollicitationis was written in 1962 in Latin and given to Catholic bishops worldwide, who are ordered to keep it locked away in the church safe. It imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses.
Breaking that oath means excommunication from the Catholic Church.
The Vatican has refused repeated requests from Panorama to respond to any of the cases shown in the film.
Update 22 July 2020
DW Documentary (2019) – Abuse in the Catholic Church
Synopsis from DW Documentary's YouTube channel:
Child abuse in the Catholic Church was long a taboo subject, kept under wraps by senior church dignitaries. But in the pursuit of justice, the Church’s inactivity eventually prompted the victims of child abuse to take matters into their own hands.
"For too long the Church has denied, ignored and hushed up abuse. The victims are entitled to justice." In September 2018, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German Bishops’ Conference, uttered these words and apologized to all victims of sexual abuse by Catholic officials in Germany. But Matthias Katsch, one of the most prominent representatives of victims in Germany, maintains that the Church’s handling of abuse remains problematic even now.
A former pupil at the private Canisius-Kolleg school and spokesperson for the "Squared Table” victims’ initiative uncovered the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Germany in 2010. For over thirty years, his abusers’ crimes had stayed covered up. Then, Matthias Katsch and his former classmates broke the silence when they turned to the public with accusations against their former teachers – Jesuit priests Peter R. and Wolfgang S. And what happened next? Not much, it seems. Both men were spotted in Chile after 2010. Impatient with the lack of progress, Matthias Katsch took matters into his own hands and set out to Chile to find the abusers – and their next victims.
The Fifth Estate Documentary (2010): Betrayal: Abuse in the Catholic Church in Nova Scotia
Synopsis from The Fifth Estate's YouTube channel:
Betrayal tells the story of childhood abuse victims in Nova Scotia, who continued to feel profound hurt and damage as adults. Searching for restitution for their suffering some launched or joined in lawsuits against the Catholic Church. Their partial victory has had an unexpected outcome: in order to settle those lawsuits, the church has begun selling of some church property in Nova Scotia – property that local people helped build and pay for over many generations.
Betrayal highlights the consequences of abuse that continue to echo throughout the Catholic Church and in communities across Canada, the U.S and in Europe.
Real Stories Documentary (2019): The Church – Code of Silence
Synopsis from Real Sories' YouTube Channel
Secret internal documents reveal how church officials have protected priests accused of pedophilia by moving them from country-to-country, sometimes as far away as Africa. They call it "the geographical solution". Even Pope Francis is implicated. When he was bishop of Buenos Aires, he tried to influence the Argentinean justice system in order to protect a convicted priest.
From Cameroon to Argentina, America to France and Italy, this investigation traces the transfers of pedophile priests.
Also watch the movie Spotlight, which is based on a true story.