Drafter says ‘zero tolerance’ didn’t belong in a synod doc on young people


October 30, 2018

By John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin

As the dust settles after an Oct. 3-28 summit of bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment, many questions remain. Most are focused on the final document adopted by the bishops by an overwhelming margin last Saturday night – including who shaped it, what some of its language means, and the fact that it doesn’t contain an endorsement of a “zero tolerance” policy on sexual abuse.

Mexican Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, appointed by Pope Francis to lead the Archdiocese of Mexico City at the end of last year, was on the 12-member drafting committee responsible for producing the 60-page document.

Speaking with Crux on Monday, Aguiar Retes said that even though he agrees with the policy of “zero tolerance” when it comes to priests or church personnel who abuse minors, the document, addressed to young adults, touches on many forms of abuse, including “authoritarianism, abuse of power, imposition, lack of empathy,” and others, for which the Church “doesn’t have a zero tolerance attitude.”

Aguiar Reyes says the phrase “zero tolerance” was also eliminated from this text because Francis has called a meeting for the presidents of bishops’ conferences around the world Feb. 21-24, and it will be up to that meeting to address it.

Aguiar Retes spoke with Crux on Monday, two days after the synod’s final document was voted on. What follows are excerpts of that conversation, which took place in Italian.

Crux: Seeing that we’ve reached the end of the synod, could we ask you for a balance of the experience?

Aguiar Retes: For me, I’ve said this before, and I’ve heard this from many bishops and cardinals, particularly from those who’ve participated in a synod before, for me this was the fifth, everyone says the same: this was the best synod among those we’ve participated in.

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