(LA Times) The Roman Catholic Church has â€œsystematicallyâ€ protected predator priests, allowing â€œtens of thousandsâ€ of children to be abused, a United Nations committee said Wednesday in a scathing report that cast the first shadow over Pope Francisâ€™ honeymoon period as pontiff.
The panel called on the Vatican to remove all suspects from their posts immediately and to open up its confidential archives in order â€œto hold abusers accountable.â€
â€œThe 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,â€ the report said.
The Vatican, which signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, has â€œconsistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above childrenâ€™s best interests,â€ said the report, accusing the Vatican of transferring abusive priests to new parishes where many have continued to abuse children, and of â€œhumiliatingâ€ the families of victims into silence.
In a sharply worded response, the Holy Seeâ€™s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, attacked the report, calling it â€œsurprisingâ€ and full of â€œincorrectâ€ statements, and alleging that the U.N. had ignored steps taken by the Vatican in recent years to root out abuse.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Tomasi also suggested that nongovernmental organizations that oppose the Vaticanâ€™s positions on homosexuality and gay marriage had influenced the U.N. report, giving it an â€œideologicalâ€ slant.
Addressing the U.N. committee last month, Tomasi said the Vatican had no responsibility for abusers because “priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country.” [more]