UN presses Vatican for confidential records on child sex abuse
The Vatican is to face tough questioning by a United Nations committee over the Catholic church’s record in tackling child sexual abuse by its clergy around the world.
A detailed “list of issues” has been released by the Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) before the appearance of officials from the Holy See. The session is expected early next year.
The decision to ask senior Roman Catholic clerics to hand over confidential internal documents to such a high-profile inquiry marks a fresh initiative in the global debate over clerical abuse. It will present the new pontiff, Pope Francis, with a direct challenge to provide records of financial compensation given to victims of sexual abuse and disclose whether secret deals were made to preserve the church’s reputation…
The information sought includes cases where priests were transferred to other parishes, “where instructions were given not to report such offences, and at which level of the clergy”, and “where children were silenced in order to minimise the risk of public disclosure”. The CRC has also asked for “the investigations and legal proceedings conducted under penal canon law against perpetrators of sexual crimes” and “the number of child victims who have been given assistance for recovery, including psychological support and social reintegration and have received financial compensation”…
The CRC has been pressing the Vatican for greater disclosure over the issue of clerical abuse for years. Barbara Blaine of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests said last month: “The fact that a UN committee has called the Vatican to account for its record on children’s rights, including the right to be free from sexual violence and exploitation, is giving survivors all over the world hope.”
Overdue. Once again, survivors have their hopes up that a new Pope with a supposedly-refreshed staff will open the vaults of evidence against abusers in the clergy. Most important, the chance to acquire direct evidence which provides for rehabilitation of the abused.