The United Nations has demanded that the Vatican ‘immediately remove’ all Reverend Fathers who are known or suspected child abusers and turn them over to civil authorities, in an unprecedented and scathing report.
The U.N. watchdog for children’s rights said the Holy See should also hand over its archives on sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children so that culprits, as well as ‘those who concealed their crimes’, could be held accountable.
The watchdog’s exceptionally blunt paper – the most far-reaching critique of the Church hierarchy by the world body – followed its public grilling of Vatican officials last month.
The U.N. committee on the Rights of the Child said the Catholic Church had not yet taken measures to prevent a repeat of cases such as Ireland’s Magdalene laundries scandal, where girls were arbitrarily placed in conditions of forced labour. It called for an internal investigation of the laundries and similar institutions so that whose who were responsible could be prosecuted and that ‘full compensation be paid to the victims and their families’.
A commission created by Pope Francis in December should investigate all cases of child sexual abuse the report said.
It also said it should investigate ‘the conduct of the Catholic hierarchy in dealing with them.’
Abusers had been moved from parish to parish or other countries ‘in an attempt to cover-up such crimes,’ it added.
‘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,’ the U.N. body said.