The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has urged the Vatican act to address child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy members and take measures to prevent it from happening in the future.
The CRC recommended that the Holy See remove all clergy who are confirmed or suspected child abusers from their positions immediately, to turn them in to authorities, and to provide the UN with an archive of evidence about the abuse – which they have so far declined to do. The CRC also urged the Vatican invite outside experts and victims to participate in an investigation of child abuse, the abuse of women in Magdalene laundries, and the way these situations were handled by church authorities. The Vatican must should also pay full compensation to victims and families, among several other recommendations.
“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 Committee said.
In the US alone between 1950 and 2010, 6,100 priests were accused of abuse, leading to an estimated 100,000 victims, according to Barbara Blaine, President of SNAP. Globally, thousands more have been accused, and they were frequently protected from any punishment by being transferred to a different parish where they could start abusing others, as shown in recently released documents of the Chicago archdiocese.
The CRC report follows a hearing the Committee held last month for Vatican leaders to address global child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and their role in protecting perpetrators. Although these recommendations are a step forward, they are currently non-binding.
Media Resources: BBC 2/5/14; Irish Times 2/5/14; Reuters 2/5/14; Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) 1/16/14; Feminist Newswire 1/23/14