Vatican Wants Abuse By Priests Reported to Police

The Vatican wants bishops to cooperate with police and report priests who sexually abuse, rape and molest children. He also wants them to develop a plan of guidelines for preventing sex abuse by next year. The suggestions are vague and nonbinding. They do not have any enforcement mechanisms to make sure bishops actually draft these guidelines or even follow them. Advocates for sex abuse victims were not impressed. They continue to blame the power of bishops use to protect the church and its priests from scandal and ruin. Bishops have been known to just move a pedophile priests to different parishes instead of reporting them to police or punishing them in any way. Bishops do not face any consequences so this is the route frequently taken. An outreach director for the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests group, Barbara Dorris, spoke out. She said, “There’s nothing that will make a child safer today or tomorrow or next month or next year.”

The letter written by the Vatican continues to give bishops exclusive authority when dealing with sexual abuse cases. The letter also says independent review boards that have been created in some countries to oversee the protection policies put in place by the church. It is also to ensure compliance doesn’t substitute a bishop’s power and judgment. Some of those review boards have reported that bishops failed in following their own guidelines and withheld information—making compliance with law enforcement impossible. Maeve Lewis is the executive director One in Four, an Irish victims group. She stated, “Our central concern is that bishops and religious leaders retain enormous discretionary powers to decide if an allegation is credible. Clergymen do not have the skills or expertise to make sound decisions in this regard: that is a matter for law enforcement and child protection specialists.”


Angelica Bee

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