Carlo Alberto Capella, a Catholic priest and former Vatican diplomat to the United States, was sentenced to five years in jail for possessing child pornography in a Vatican court today, Reuters news agency reports.
In his own words, Capella had developed a “morbid” desire while acting as a diplomat in Vatican’s Washington embassy. The priest was, he told the court, “unhappy” in Washington, but child pornography, he said, “was never part” of his “priestly life before.”
In August 2017, Reuters notes, the U.S. State Department notified the Vatican of a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images by a member of Vatican’s diplomatic corps.
The Vatican refused to waive priest Carlo Alberto Capella’s diplomatic immunity, so he wasn’t sentenced in the United States, although after the priest had been recalled to Rome, Police in neighboring Canada issued an arrest warrant for him on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography on the internet while visiting a Canadian church.
The trial lasted two days and Capella was sentenced to five years in jail.
Scandals related to pedophilia and child abuse have plagued the Vatican for decades. The Holy See has in recent years, at least publicly, attempted to tackle the issue. On the surface, Pope Francis seemed to have made a conscious effort to end child abuse by Catholic priests, but reports contradict his rhetoric.
For instance, as the Inquisitr reported this month, the Pope accepted the resignation of three Chilean bishops accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s. However, although all of Chile’s 34 Roman Catholic bishops had offered their resignations, Pope accepted only three.
Initially, Pope Francis vehemently denied reports of child sexual abuse in Chile, publicly defending the now convicted Bishop Juan Barros. Apart from refusing to talk about sexual abuse Bishop Barros had committed, the Pope – according to his own advisers – received an eight-page letter from one of the victims three years earlier, in 2015. The letter, which graphically detailed the sexual abuse that had taken place was ignored by the Pope.
Dozens of horrendous scandals related to child sexual abuse within the Catholic church have been a subject of debate, criticism, and widespread outrage for decades. For instance, in 2010, as the Huffington Post reported, a known Vatican critic, the late Christopher Hitchens, accused the Holy See of covering up the abuse, instead of addressing it, and of considering revelations of abuse a problem, instead of, in fact, viewing the abuse itself as problematic.
“The abuse was not the problem, the torture the rape; only the revelation of it,” Hitchens said.