UN panel questions Vatican record on child sex abuse

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has been called to give detailed information on its record on child sexual abuse to … Continued

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has been called to give detailed information on its record on child sexual abuse to a United Nations panel, a move that will show how Pope Francis wants to handle an issue that has deeply scarred the Catholic Church’s image in the past decade.

The Geneva-based U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has asked the Vatican to “provide detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns.”

The request comes ahead of the Vatican’s scheduled appearance in front of the committee in January 2014.

All countries that have ratified the 1990 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child must submit to a periodic evaluation of their performance on child protection. The Vatican was among the first countries to ratify the treaty.

According to the “List of Issues” submitted by the U.N. committee, the Vatican will have to explain the measures it has put in place to “ensure that no member of the clergy currently accused of sexual abuse be allowed to remain in contact with children.”

The Vatican will also have to detail cases when “priests were transferred” after being accused of abuse, as well as its compensation policy for abuse victims, and whether compensation was linked to requiring victims to sign confidentiality agreements.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an abuse victims support group, testified in front of the committee last month, presenting a shadow report on the Vatican’s record.

According to SNAP President Barbara Blaine, the U.N. committee questioning of the Vatican is “giving survivors all over the world hope.”

The Rev. Massimo De Gregori, a member of the Holy See’s diplomatic mission to Geneva, stressed that the questioning was a “routine procedure.”

“While we don’t deny the gravity (of child sex abuse), someone is trying to take advantage” of the U.N. committee procedure, he said.

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  • Rongoklunk

    It says a lot that the Vatican has to explain what they’re doing about child rape – to the United Nations.

    It wasn’t that long ago that the Vatican was boss of the world, and didn’t have to explain anything to anybody. In those days priests could do what they liked, and were answerable to no-one but the pope. Pedophilia could gave been endemic but it still wouldn’t have gotten out. Secrecy was total, obviously. Child abuse in those days would NEVER have gotten out. We know the Catholic Church were free to burn people alive, and drown witches, and wrote the book on torture – which they used to coax heretics to change their minds. Any institution that would kill and torture is more than capable of doing other despicable acts like rape, even child-rape. It was an evil institution which sold the public an invisible skygod, which it was compulsory to believe in. No wonder nobody ever saw a God. If there was a God he’d have smitten these disgusting priests, not just ignore them. I sometimes think that these pedoes know as well as I do, that no god exists. Otherwise why ruin the chance of going to heaven – and making life in hell a certainty? Maybe even the pope knows too. In fact, a pope can’t help noticing that God behaves exactly as if he doesn’t exist. He never calls. Never writes. Never answers prayers, never even acknowledges them. Never stops wars. Never gets involved when tsunamis strike. Never helps out during hurricanes or in any disaster. Never gets food to the starving. Never does anything at all. Voltaire noticed that in 1755 when the Lisbon earthquake buried thousands of Christians.

    Much simpler to accept that gods don’t exist. It makes for a clearer – less cluttered picture of the world, and the reality that science continues to reveal to us is vastly more interesting and exciting than any ancient superstition could possibly be. Reality is in fact – awesome.

  • PatS28

    The Catholic Church’s record of aggressive and proactive protective measures is unparalleled in any organization today. Since the beginning of the abuse crisis, the Catholic Church:

    ■has instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in which any credibly accused priest is immediately removed from ministry. Law enforcement is also notified;

    ■has trained over 5 million children in giving them skills to protect them from abuse;

    ■has trained over 2 million adults, including 99 percent of all priests, in recognizing signs of abuse;

    ■has conducted over 2 million background checks, including those in the intensified screening process for aspiring seminarians and priests;

    ■has installed “Victim Assistance Coordinators” in every diocese, “assuring victims that they will be heard”;

    ■has conducted annual independent audits of all dioceses to monitor compliance with the groundbreaking 2002 Charter for Protection of Children and Young People;

    ■has instituted in all dioceses abuse review boards – often composed of child welfare experts, child psychologists, and abuse experts – to examine any claims of abuse against priests.

    No other organization even comes close to implementing the measures the Catholic Church has taken to protect children in its care. In this regard, the Catholic Church in the 21st century is the model for other institutions to follow in the safeguarding of youth.

  • Hildy J

    Our politicians are just too afraid of the christian religion in general and the catholic church in particular. It is a stain on our justice system that prosecutions have been so feeble. Any bishop, cardinal, or pope who had knowledge of the sexual abuse of a child and covered it up from authorities should be charged with aiding and abetting the rape of a child.

    If a murderer came to a bishop and the bishop spirited him out of town to escape the law that bishop would be in jail. So too should all bishops, cardinals, and popes who helped protect child rapists. And the jail should not be one for white collar criminals, it should be one where other rapists and child abusers are incarcerated.