Vatican Charged with Thousands of Cover-Ups

Pope Francis recently issued guidelines for handling accusations of child abuse (Pope Francis’ Abuse Guidelines). Basically, the new guidelines require bishops to do a quick investigation and report their results to the Vatican. There is no requirement to report results to legal authorities, nor is there any mention of punishment for child abusers, covering up such crimes, or persecuting whistle-blowers. The Vatican already has files on all reports of child abuse since the 1980s. Now it is being sued in U.S. District Court for withholding the identity of 3,400 clergy accused of child abuse (Reuters report; CRUX report). The new guidelines appear to be whitewash.

The case was filed by Jeff Anderson, who was featured in the Spotlight investigation in Boston, and has been prosecuting cases of abuse by the Church since the 1980s. CRUX reports that “the lawsuit … seeks the release of 3,400 names of priests who were referred to the Vatican for ‘credible cases of abuse.’ That number was released by the Vatican in 2014.” While nearly all the cases took place before the election of Pope Francis, under his leadership, the Vatican continued to cover-up the identities of the accused clergy.

The key point, which neither Reuters nor CRUX mentioned, is that the new guidelines would add nothing to the information already in the Vatican’s possession. With all that information, the Vatican is still covering up crimes, and failing to inform both legal authorities and the public - including Catholic laity endangered by pederast priests. Apart from public relations, the guidelines do little if anything to address the Church’s child abuse problem.

 

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