Catholic Church ‘Systematically’ Protected Abusive Priests, U.N. Says

Catholic Church ‘systematically’ protected abusive priests, U.N. says (LA Times, Feb 5, 2014):

ROME — The Roman Catholic Church has “systematically” protected predator priests, allowing “tens of thousands” of children to be abused, a United Nations committee said Wednesday in a scathing report that cast the first shadow over Pope Francis’ honeymoon period as pontiff.

The panel called on the Vatican to remove all suspects from their posts immediately and to open up its confidential archives in order “to hold abusers accountable.”

“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators,” the report said.

The Vatican, which signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, has “consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests,” said the report, accusing the Vatican of transferring abusive priests to new parishes where many have continued to abuse children, and of “humiliating” the families of victims into silence.

In a sharply worded response, the Holy See’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, attacked the report, calling it “surprising” and full of “incorrect” statements, and alleging that the U.N. had ignored steps taken by the Vatican in recent years to root out abuse.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Tomasi also suggested that nongovernmental organizations that oppose the Vatican’s positions on homosexuality and gay marriage had influenced the U.N. report, giving it an “ideological” slant.

Addressing the U.N. committee last month, Tomasi said the Vatican had no responsibility for abusers because “priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.”

But the report disagreed, telling the Vatican that because priests are “bound by obedience to the pope” in canon law, the Vatican is accountable for their conduct.

The report, released by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, strongly urged the Vatican to oblige its priests and bishops to take all reports about abuse to the police and end what it termed a “code of silence” under which whistle-blowers were “ostracized, demoted and fired.”

As a first step, the report urged the Vatican to appoint representatives of victims groups to the commission created by Francis in December to investigate abuse, and asked the Vatican to report back on progress made by 2017.

Although the committee’s recommendations are nonbinding, they are a challenge to the pope, whose popularity has soared since he was elected in March, in part with the assumption that he would reform the Vatican.

“Pope Francis has already missed opportunities to assert his authority to reverse the Church’s damaging policies over clerical abuse and unless he responds positively and quickly to the demands of the committee, he risks history judging his whole papacy a failure,” said Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of Britain’s National Secular Society, which gave evidence to the committee.

1 thought on “Catholic Church ‘Systematically’ Protected Abusive Priests, U.N. Says”

  1. This “new pope” is a PR stunt. The other clown is still there, as evil and corrupt a man ever to sit in the Vatican. The world’s oldest corporation has not had to play this particular game in over 500 years, but they have played it before…….nothing is changed but the rhetoric.
    The bishops controlling the Catholic schools in Sonoma County have issued a proclamation that all instructors must go to mass every Sunday, and must teach abstinence instead of birth control. All teachers by 2015 have to sign an agreement to do these things or be fired.
    My God. I went to a Catholic private high school for girls in Sonoma County years ago. I chose to go, it was a boarding school in those days. Students from around the world came to attend, the standards were so high, the certifications second to none. We had chapel on Monday mornings. Otherwise, we did not have to be Catholic, did not have to attend religious services…… was right after Vatican two, and it was an open and liberal place to study. Religion classes covered much more than the Christian or Catholic organizations……they even covered the wrongs of the Catholic church. It was a different time, and I am appalled at these right wing asses who have taken it over. My old school closed after 140 years because of very poor financial management…….they had been rich for so long, they had no idea what to do with a depression such as we have labored under since 2001….if the truth be told.
    The Catholic churches are losing members like crazy because nobody likes such awful micromanagement. The bishop is also trying to restore all the masses to Latin. As one who remembers the switch over from Latin to English, I can tell you, your native tongue is much better. Going backward isn’t the answer.
    Don’t buy the new pope game, he is just a puppet. Nothing has really changed beyond the language.


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