Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In 1997 Vatican Warned Bishops Not to Report Child Abuse

A newly disclosed document reveals that Vatican officials instructed the bishops of Ireland in 1997 that they must not adopt a policy of reporting priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities.

The document appears to contradict Vatican claims that the hierarchy in Rome never determined the actions of local bishops in abuse cases, and that the church did not impede criminal investigations of accused child abusers.

Abuse victims in Ireland and the United States quickly proclaimed the document to be a “smoking gun” that would serve as important evidence in lawsuits against the Vatican.

But a spokesman for the Vatican said that the document, while authentic, only serves as further proof that past missteps on handling sexual abuse allegations were reformed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was a top official in the Vatican even before he became the current pope, Benedict XVI.
Read the rest here.

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