UN accuses Vatican of adopting policies that allowed priests to rape children – Nick Squires

Nick Squires“In a damning critique of the Holy See’s attempts to shield abusive clergy from prosecution, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that tens of thousands of children had been sexually exploited by priests and nuns in the past and that victims continue to be abused.” – Nick Squires

Pope FrancisThe Catholic Church continues to harbour paedophile priests and should immediately turn them over to the authorities, the United Nations said in scathing report on the Vatican’s decades-long failure to tackle the scandal of predatory clergy.

In a damning critique of the Holy See’s attempts to shield abusive clergy from prosecution, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that tens of thousands of children had been sexually exploited by priests and nuns in the past and that victims continue to be abused.

The committee of independent experts said it was “gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed … and has adopted policies and practises which have led to the continuation of the abuse by, and the impunity of, the perpetrators.”

Abusive priests in many countries had simply been moved from one diocese to another, allowing “many priests to remain in contact with children and to continue to abuse them.”

Children in many countries around the world were still at “high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children.”

The report was released after the committee last month subjected Vatican officials to a sustained grilling over the Holy See’s failure to protect children in the care of Catholic institutions and its complicity in covering up crimes.

Chairperson Norwegian Kirsten Sandberg, Vatican's UN Ambassador Monsignor Silvano Tomasi and Former Vatican Chief Prosecutor of Clerical Sexual Abuse Charles Scicluna. The Vatican was pushed for the first time to provide answers to the UN over its commitment to stamp out child sex abuse by priests.The UN committee expressed its “deepest concern” towards almost every facet of the way in which the Vatican has dealt with paedophile priests in the past and the manner in which it still refuses to address the issue with clear, universally enforced rules for the worldwide Catholic Church.

It was particularly scathing of the treatment of girls placed into the care of the notorious Magdalene laundries in Ireland, which were run by the Catholic Sisters until 1996.

Girls placed in the institutions had been “forced to work in slavery-like conditions and were often subject to inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment as well as to physical and sexual abuse.”

They were often deprived of food and essential medicines and “prohibited from having any contact with the outside world.”

No action had been taken to investigate the nuns who ran the laundries or to hold them accountable for the abusive treatment they meted out.

The UN committee called on the Vatican to fully investigate the scandal of the Magdalene laundries, refer abusive nuns to the authorities for prosecution and pay full compensation to the victims.

It said that in addition to sexual abuse continuing, children in Catholic-run institutions were still being subjected to corporal punishment.

Mother Teresa & Fr. Donald McGuireRitual beatings” of children remained widespread and had “reached endemic levels in certain countries.”

The committee entirely refuted the Vatican’s argument that it cannot be held responsible for the actions of clergy in countries around the world because its remit extends only to those living within the tiny sovereign territory of the Vatican City State.

It said that Catholic religious orders “are bound by obedience to the Pope in accordance with (Canon law) and that when the Vatican ratified the convention on the rights of the child in 1990, it “committed itself to implementing it not only on the territory of the Vatican City State but also through individuals and institutions under its authority.” – The Telegraph, 5 February 2014

Magdalen Asylum, England

The Pope's Moral Reckoning

Victims urge action after UN report on paedophile priests condemns Vatican for inaction – Agence France-Presse

SNAP : Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests An advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests called Wednesday for legal action after a devastating UN report denounced the Vatican for failing to stamp out the scourge.

The UN report “is a wake-up call, not to Catholic officials — who’ve known about and concealed abuse for decades and still do — but for secular officials, especially those in law enforcement,” the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said in a statement.

Law enforcers “can and should investigate Catholic abuses and cover-ups and prosecute the church supervisors who are still protecting predators and endangering children,” it said the statement by SNAP president Barbara Blaine.

“For the safety of children, we hope every head of state on the planet reads this and acts on it,” she added.

The reaction came after the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said “tens of thousands of children worldwide” had been abused systemically for years within the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis "the Humble"It called on the Church to remove all clergy suspected of raping or molesting children.

“The quickest way to prevent child sexual violence by Catholic clerics is for Pope Francis to publicly remove all offenders from ministry and harshly punish their colleagues and supervisors who enabled their crimes,” SNAP said.

“But like his predecessors, he has refused to take even tiny steps in this direction,” the international group added.

The UN report followed a landmark hearing last month during which members of the committee — made up of 18 independent human rights experts from around the globe — grilled senior Church officials and repeatedly questioned the Vatican’s resolve.

The report cited a long record of cover-ups that protected abusers and questioned the real impact of the zero tolerance approach announced by former pontiff Benedict XVI and his successor Francis.

BISHOP ACCOUNTABILITY SNAP said the report “gives hope to the hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded and still suffering clergy sex abuse victims across the world”.

“Now it’s up to secular officials to follow the UN’s lead and step in to safeguard the vulnerable because Catholic officials are either incapable or unwilling to do so,” it added. – Global Post, 5 February 2014

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