‘Refugium peccatorum’

Apparently there is an expression “refugium peccatorum” — refuge of sinners — sometimes used to described certain dioceses who were (are?) willing to take priests with a bad record. The argument given by the bishops has been that it is out of compassion for these men that they give them a second (third, fourth..) chance. I refer you to an article Man of Contradictions, about the bishop of San Diego 1969-1990 as one such bishop.

My question is a simple one: where were the children expected to take refuge?

If parents couldn’t depend on their bishops to provide safe priests to teach and minister to their children, shouldn’t they have been warned? Is there no culpability? When are we going to start putting these bishops on trial?


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