Patrick J. Wall
What better place to find evidence of concealing clerical child abuse than in a newly opened secret archive?
For her book Fallen Order, Karen Liebreich began digging in a previously closed archive and discovered the sordid story of the Piarist Fathers and “things not remembered.”
One of those “things not remembered” was how a child abuser rose to become the General Superior of the Order. This sounds like fodder for the Darknet, but the story illustrates how the cover-up of child sexual abuse has occured in Roman circles for centuries.
Father Stefano Cherubini Sch.P. was a rich Roman lawyer’s son who was accused of sexually abusing boys in Naples in 1629. In classic cover-up language, the founder of the Piarists, Father Joseph Calasanz Sch.P. writes, “it seems best to me, that if we are allowed to be the judges of this case, we will not permit it to come into the hands of outsiders.”
Instead of being punished to a life of prayer and penance, Cherubini was promoted and became General Superior in 1643. Complaints against Cherubini, then at the Piarists Roman School, continued. Instead of facing the issue, Pope Innocent X dissolved the religious order. Pope Alexander VIII resurrected the Piarists in 1656.
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