The Vatican police arrested Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella — who was one of the church's diplomats accredited to Washington — on suspicion of possessing child pornography. Monsignor Capella was recalled from the Vatican Embassy in August and at that time the police in Windsor, Canada, said they had issued an arrest warrant for him on suspicion of possessing and distributing images of child abuse on the internet. After an investigation, which led to a warrant issued by the Holy See’s chief magistrate, Capella was arrested in the Vatican. The accusation is based on articles of the law signed by Pope Francis in 2013 which are related to images of child sexual abuse.
But this is not the first time Capella was accused of child porn abuse, and the Vatican tried to protect him at first. The Holy See was notified of a possible violation of laws by a member of their diplomatic corps accredited in Washington by the State Department, and the Vatican denied the United States’ request to waive diplomatic immunity. If the Vatican accepted this request, the offender could have been charged in the United States. At that time, the Vatican refused to identify the diplomat, but there were strong indications that it was Monsignor Capella.
According to The Guardian, Capella’s case is the worst involving a diplomat since 2013 when former Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski faced charges of paying boys for sexual acts, downloading and buying pedophile material while he was the Vatican’s ambassador in the Dominican Republic. He was recalled to Rome by the Vatican, arrested and stripped of his duties after an investigation by Dominican magistrates. He died at the hospital in 2015 at the age of 67 before his trial at a Vatican court could begin.
If convicted after his trial at the Vatican, Monsignor Capella could possibly face up to 12 years in prison. But this may not be likely since, in 2011, the Vatican held a trial for a priest who was a “notorious sex abuser” decades earlier, — he was found guilty of sexual abuse — but was only forced to retire and sentenced to a lifetime of "penance and prayer". Also, this inappropriate sentence came 27 years after the first complaints about him were made.
Although the Pontiff declared zero tolerance for the abuse that occurs in churches, it looks like the Vatican is not doing enough to prevent misconduct. This case may look like a step forward, but still the question remains why the Vatican refused to waive Capella's diplomatic immunity in the USA; then they arrest him and hold him for trial. If a man is guilty he should be adequately sentenced —and "penance and prayer" is not that type of sentence.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia