January 19, 2014

New Report on Scope of Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...
emblem of the Papacy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The mainstream news media in the United States has been fawning over Pope Francis for some time. Even as some of us have questioned how much of a change he represents and whether he will be willing to do something meaningful about clergy abuse, there is little question about his popularity. I cannot help wondering if we might see that change soon.

Timed to coincide with the scathing UN condemnation of the Vatican for their failure to protect children from clergy abuse, the Child Rights International Network (CRIN) has released a preliminary report documenting the scope of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and efforts by the Vatican to conceal it. It seems like "damning" would be a fair word to use in describing what the report says about the office of the Pope and the institution he represents.

The report, "Child sexual abuse and the Holy See: The need for justice, accountability, and reform," can be downloaded here.

In describing the contents of the report, CRIN notes:
Along with mapping the global scale of the abuse, the report illustrates a complete lack of transparency and respect for victim’s rights by the Holy See. It highlights the Holy See’s attempts to deal with child sexual abuse in the Church, including the “geographical cure” - moving priests accused of abuse to another parish, or overseas on a mission, where they continue to have unfettered access to children.
When we read things like this, it is natural that we often find ourselves feeling angry and yet powerless to do anything about it. This is why I am happy to see that CRIN has also launched a new web campaign aimed at ending sexual violence in religious institutions. As part of this campaign, they are providing quite a bit of information about what we can do to get involved on this important issue.

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