UN asks Vatican about child abuse

2013-07-10 19:10
Magdalene laundry (Picture: Supplied))

Magdalene laundry (Picture: Supplied))

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - A United Nations human rights panel has posed a list of tough questions to the Vatican about child abuse by Catholic priests, a potential embarrassment for Pope Francis a few months into his papacy.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) asked for "detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers or nuns" since the Holy See last reported to it some 15 years ago, and set 1 November as a deadline for a reply.

The request was included in a "list of issues", posted on the CRC's website, to be taken up when the Vatican appears before it next January to report on the Church's performance under the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It will be the first time the Holy See has been publicly questioned by an international panel over the child abuse scandal which severely damaged the standing of the Roman Catholic Church in many countries around the world.

The CRC has no enforcement powers, but a negative report after the hearing would be a blow to the Church whose leader, Pope Francis, is striving to put a number of scandals behind him since succeeding Benedict XVI who resigned in February.

By issuing its questions, the Geneva-based CRC brushed aside a Vatican warning that it might pull out of the Convention on the Rights of the Child if pushed too hard on the issue.

In a report of its own in late 2011, posted on the UN website last October, the Holy See reminded the CRC of reservations on legal jurisdiction and other issues it made when it signed the global pact.

It said any new "interpretation" would give it grounds "for terminating or withdrawing" from the treaty.

Magdalene Laundries

In its request for information, the CRC asked how the Vatican was ensuring that abuser priests have no more contact with children and what instructions it has issued to ensure that cases known to the Church are reported to the police.

In several countries, including the United States and Ireland, the Church has been accused of simply moving suspect priests from one diocese to another, and of handling cases secretly.

The committee also asked if the Church had investigated the Magdalene Laundries run by nuns in Ireland over several decades until they were closed in 1996, where former female inmates say they were treated as slaves.

There was no immediate comment from the Vatican on Wednesday.

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of Britain's National Secular Society who gave evidence to the committee in June, said he hoped for a new line from Pope Francis.

"He has expressed the Catholic Church's determination to act decisively against paedophiles," said Wood. "This gives room for optimism that these issues will at last be tackled. His papacy will be judged on his success in doing so."

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  pope francis

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.