Victims hope probe will stem sex abuse by priests

2014-01-14 21:49
St. Peter's Square at the Vatican (Fillippo Monteforte, AFP)

St. Peter's Square at the Vatican (Fillippo Monteforte, AFP)

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

Geneva - Victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests said on Tuesday they hoped UN scrutiny of the Vatican would help finally to hold perpetrators to account and halt future violations.

"This is an important moment for those of us who were raped, sodomised and sexually violated as children by priests," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap), a global coalition based in the United States.

"Over the years, we've struggled to understand why Church officials continue to support and cover up for sexual predators," Blaine told reporters, two days before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was to examine the Vatican's record.

"We're hoping that finally the truth will be exposed and, more importantly, the Church officials will change what they are doing and that Pope Francis will take action that will actually protect children," she added.

Signatories of the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child agree to be scrutinised by a watchdog panel.

Thursday marks the Vatican's second examination. Its debut was in 1995, before the abuse of minors by Catholic priests burst into the spotlight.

For more than a decade, the Church has been rocked by a cascade of scandals from Ireland to the United States and from Australia to Germany.

The Vatican says it continues to receive around 600 claims against abusive priests every year, many dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Victims' groups, however, say the issue is far from settled and that the tally could well be in the hundreds of thousands.

Abuse has often been coupled with cover-ups by priests' superiors, typically transfers to other parishes, rather than turning them over to police.

A 1986 internal Church report on abuse had little or no impact, said Spanish Snap member Miguel Hurtado.

"When that report was written, I was four years old. When I was abused, I was 16. They had 12 years to try to sort out the problem. They had 12 years to try to implement measures. They had 12 years in which they did absolutely nothing," he said.

Benedict XVI, pontiff from 2005 to 2013, was the first pope to apologise to victims and called for zero tolerance of abuse.

Campaigners claim that rhetoric took the place of concrete results.

Hurtado cited the case of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, who remains in office despite being convicted in 2012 by a US court for shielding an abuser.

He contrasted the Church's handling of those who question doctrine.

"If he had advocated ordination for women, if he had advocated contraception, he wouldn't have lasted a day. But he 'only' failed to report child abuse to the authorities," Hurtado said.

Elected last March, Pope Francis has been applauded for his fresh approach to a range of issues. He has issued several pronouncements urging action against child abusers.

But campaigners remain sceptical.

"I haven't seen any actions at all that give positive signs," said Snap's UN representative Mary Caplan. "What we want to see is accountability."

Read more on:    benedict xvi  |  pope francis  |  vatican  |  child abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
23 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Inside News24

 
 

Madonsela to probe ANC food-for-votes claims

Public protector Thuli Madonsela has launched an investigation into whether the ANC has used state resources for its electoral campaign, says a report.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

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.