In an uncharacteristically harsh criticism of the Vatican, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) issued a report slamming the Church for "not [acknowledging] the extent of the crimes committed," and demanded that the Vatican remove every member of the clergy who is known to or suspected of abusing children.
The UNCRC questioned Vatican officials over cases of child sexual abuse within the Church in a hearing last month, and released their conclusions today in the damning report. The members spelled out the Vatican's shortcomings:
The 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.
The Committee censured the Holy See for valuing its reputation over the well-being of children, sometimes transferring suspect priest from parish to parish to avoid dealing with the problem and permitting law enforcement to step in:
Due to a code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication, cases of child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred.
According to the UNCRC, the risk to children has not been mitigated as "dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children," and insisted that "those who concealed their crimes," should see justice.
In an official statement, the Vatican rejected the report, but mostly because it also criticizes Catholic teaching on abortion and contraception.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.