From Iceland — Government Holds No Sway Over Catholic Church

Government Holds No Sway Over Catholic Church

Published November 7, 2012

The Minister of the Interior says the Icelandic government has no legal recourse if Catholic bishops prove incompetent in their positions in office.
As reported, the committee organised to investigate allegations and handling of sexual abuse within the Catholic church recently released their findings, and showed that former Landakotsskóli principal Rev. Ágúst Georg, and a teacher, Margrét Muller, both brutally sexually and physically abused children over the course of decades.
Despite many of these victims and their parents going to four bishops over the years to report on the abuse, none of them reported the matter to the police. This raised the question of whether or not the Icelandic government could, as it has the power to do with national church bishops, remove them from office.
Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson responded to this question, RÚV reports, by saying that the Icelandic government has no such power over the Catholic church. This is, simply enough, because the Catholic church is an independent institution supported by parishioners; not taxpayers.
However, the minister pointed out, this also means that if any victims of the Catholic church seek damages, the church alone would be responsible for paying reparations.
No victims of Georg nor Muller have yet said they intended to take the Catholic church to court, although the possibility of it happening remains.

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