Tags: EU | Vatican | Church | Abuse

Vatican Suggests Bishops Report Abuse to Police

Monday, 16 May 2011 06:39 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican told bishops around the world Monday that it was important to cooperate with police in reporting priests who rape and molest children and said they should develop guidelines for preventing sex abuse by next May.

But the suggestions in the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are vague and nonbinding and fall far short of recommending the tough U.S.-style norms that bar a credibly accused priest from ministry while his case is investigated.

The document marks the latest effort by the Vatican to show it's serious about rooting out priestly pedophiles and preventing abuse following the eruption on a global scale of the abuse scandal last year with thousands of victims coming forward.

But it was unlikely to impress advocates for victims who have long blamed the power of bishops bent on protecting the church and its priests for fueling the scandal. Without fear of punishment themselves, bishops frequently moved pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than reporting them to police or punishing them under church law.

"Bishops ignore and conceal child sex crimes because they can," said the main U.S. victims' group Survivors' Network for Those Abused by Priests in a statement issued before the letter was released. "So any 'reform' that doesn't diminish bishops' power and discretion is virtually meaningless."

Critically, the letter reinforces bishops' authority in dealing with abuse cases. It says independent lay review boards that have been created in some countries to oversee the church's child protection policies "cannot substitute" for bishops' judgment and power.

Recently, such lay review committees in the U.S. and Ireland have reported that some bishops "failed miserably" in following their own guidelines and had thwarted the boards' work by withholding information and by enacting legal hurdles that made ensuring compliance impossible.

In the letter, the Vatican told the bishops "it is important to cooperate" with civil law enforcement authorities and follow civil reporting requirements, though it doesn't make such reporting mandatory. The Vatican has said such a binding rule would be problematic for priests working in countries with repressive regimes.

The letter told the bishops' conferences to draft guidelines for preventing abuse and caring for victims and report them back to the Congregation by May 2012. It said bishops should be prepared to listen to victims, to create "safe environment" programs for minors and to better screen seminarians and ensure they receive proper training about celibacy and the damage done to victims of sex abuse.

The letter stresses that accused priests are presumed innocent until the contrary is proven.

That too is the case in the U.S. norms, but they bar credibly accused priests from any public church work while claims against them are under investigation. The U.S. norms, enacted after the abuse scandal exploded in Boston in 2002, says diocesan lay review boards help bishops oversee cases. Clergy found guilty are permanently barred from public ministry and, in some cases, ousted from the priesthood.

The guidance given to bishops in the letter Monday falls far short of those recommendations: It merely reminds bishops that they are "always able to limit the exercise of the cleric's ministry until the accusations are clarified."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Arkansas Gun Range Is 'Muslim-Free Zone'

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 23:01 PM

The owner of an Arkansas gun range has banned Muslims from visiting her facility.
 . . .

John Boehner: 'Very Few' Republicans Will Oppose Me

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 22:18 PM

House Speaker John Boehner says he isn't worried about a conservative revolt that could oust him from his leadership pos . . .

White House: Secret Service Chief Won't Resign or Be Fired

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 22:20 PM

Amid the furor over a knife-wielding assailant who made it over the White House fence and into the president's residence . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved