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First Vatican child abuse trial places former nuncio in dock

| July 10, 2015 at 07:12 am

Fate of Józef Wesołowski, accused of abusing boys in the Dominican Republic, seen as test of pope’s new approach to tackling alleged clerical wrongdoing

The first high-ranking Vatican official to be charged with paedophilia will face a criminal court in the Holy See on Saturday, in an unprecedented test of Pope Francis’s commitment to tackling the church’s legacy of sexual violence against children.

The trial of the former nuncio Józef Wesołowski from Poland marks the first time that the church has used the criminal justice system put in place by the Argentinian pontiff to handle cases of alleged clerical wrongdoing.


Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused of covering up child abuse

| June 10, 2015 at 11:53 am

Pope Francis approves proposals to create specific process for dealing with senior clerics who are negligent in handling abuse

Pope Francis has established a tribunal to investigate bishops accused of failing to protect children and vulnerable adults from sex abuse, in a move seen as the most forceful act by the pontiff to date to tackle the church’s legacy of abuse and cover-ups.

The Catholic church has long been accused of turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of children by clergy, with countless accusations over the years that church officials knowingly covered up abuse instead of confronting priests.


Catholic bishop of Kansas City convicted of failure to report child abuse resigns

| April 22, 2015 at 07:43 am

ROME — In what is likely to be hailed as major step toward accountability for Catholic bishops who mishandle sexual abuse allegations, the Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The announcement came Tuesday in a brief statement in the Vatican’s daily news bulletin, released at noon Rome time. Finn, whose resignation is effective immediately, will remain a bishop, but no longer lead a diocese. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City-Kansas has been appointed as the apostolic administrator of Finn’s diocese until Pope Francis names Finn’s successor. (more…)

Pope Francis told to hand priests over to police as new Vatican child abuse commission starts work

| February 6, 2015 at 10:21 am

The Vatican’s new commission for protecting children from sexual abuse holds its first meeting in Rome on Friday

Pope Francis should immediately hand over to the police all the Vatican documents on Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children and “cast out the vipers” who are still being protected by the Church, a British survivor of clerical abuse said.

The Catholic Church needs to end decades of obfuscation and cover-ups by fully cooperating with civil authorities around the world instead of protecting abusive priests, moving them from parish to parish or subjecting them only to canon law, said Peter Saunders. (more…)

Press Vatican on Aust child abuse: UN

| November 28, 2014 at 07:43 am

The UN wants the Abbott government to take on the Vatican over documents relating to child abuse by Catholic clergy.

In a report handed down in Geneva on Friday, the United Nations Committee Against Torture welcomed the work of the national royal commission into child sexual abuse.

However, the Australian government should take “all appropriate measures” to get “all evidence” from the Vatican to ensure meaningful investigations can be carried out.

Cardinal George Pell has told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse such a request is unreasonable because some documents are private and internal to a sovereign state – the Vatican. (more…)

Pope’s former envoy under arrest over child abuse charges

| September 24, 2014 at 09:02 am

Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, the highest ranking Catholic to be investigated over child abuse, is now under house arrest at the Vatican pending a criminal trial following accusations of the sexual abuse of minors in the Dominican Republic (DR). It would be the first such trial, with the Pope keen to be seen to be treating child abuse with vigour.

Wesolowski was secretly recalled earlier this year from the DR where he was the Papal Nuncio following widely publicised accusations of him having sexually abused boys. He underwent a canonical, as opposed to criminal, trial at the Vatican which concluded he should be defrocked. (more…)

Pope Francis: 1 in 50 clerics is a pedophile

| July 14, 2014 at 08:13 am

In an interview, the pontiff also hinted that ban on marriage for priests may one day be lifted

One in 50 clerics is a pedophile, Pope Francis said in an interview published Sunday, in which he also hinted that the mandate of priestly celibacy may one day be lifted.

Francis condemned child sex abuse as a “leprosy” in the church and cited his aides as saying that “the level of pedophilia in the church is at 2 percent.” That figure includes priests “and even bishops and cardinals,” Italy’s La Repubblica daily quoted Francis as saying. (more…)

UN watchdog grills Vatican over child abuse

| May 5, 2014 at 08:34 am

A UN anti-torture watchdog on Monday began a two-day grilling of the Vatican over its efforts to stamp out child sex abuse by priests.

The hearing is the Vatican’s first since 2002, when it signed up to an international convention banning torture as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. (more…)

Pope hits out at criticism of Church over sexual abuse

| March 5, 2014 at 08:35 am

Pope Francis has strongly defended the Roman Catholic Church’s record on tackling sexual abuse by priests.

In a rare interview with an Italian newspaper, the Pope said “no-one else has done more” to root out paedophilia.

He said the Church had acted with transparency and responsibility, yet it was the only institution to have been attacked.


UN denounces Vatican over child abuse and demands immediate action

| February 5, 2014 at 07:17 am

Devastating UN report demands Vatican ‘immediately remove’ all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers

A UN human rights committee has denounced the Vatican for adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children, and urged it to open its files on the paedophiles and the churchmen who concealed their crimes.