Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA)

Glossary of Terms:

An allegation can be:

  1. Credible – determined to be the “semblance of truth” (i. e., has been sufficiently substantiated by a preliminary investigation to be forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action according to Canons 1717 and 1719). In the case of an allegation against a deceased perpetrator, the allegation is credible if it meets the criteria for forwarding to the Congregation.
  1. Unsubstantiated – determined by a preliminary investigation that sufficient evidence exists to demonstrate that the allegation did not occur as claimed.
  1. Obviously false – determined by a preliminary investigation that allegation could not possibly have occurred (e. g., alleged perpetrator or alleged victim was not alive at the time).
  1. Investigation ongoing – preliminary investigation underway or awaiting final determination of credibility.
  1. Unable to be proven – determined by a preliminary investigation that insufficient evidence exists to conclude that the alleged abuse did, or did not occur.

Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church (revised in 1983)
Canon 1717 – §1. Whenever the ordinary [Bishop/Provincial/Abbot] receives information which at least seems to be true of an offense, he shall cautiously inquire personally or through another suitable person about the facts and circumstances and about imputability [degree of moral responsibility] unless this investigation appears to be entirely superfluous.
§§§§§§2. Care must be taken lest anyone’s good name be endangered by this investigation.
§§§§§§3. The one who conducts the investigation has the same powers and obligations as an auditor in the process; this person cannot act as a judge in the matter, if a judicial process is set in motion later.

Canon 1719 – the acts of the investigation, the decrees of the ordinary by which the investigation was opened and closed, and all that preceded it are to be kept in the secret archive of the curia if they are not necessary for the penal process.