Why Is the Vatican Still Protecting Priests Who Sexually Abuse Kids?

vatican tells bishops don't have to report abuseThis news isn't surprising, and yet it's shocking and appalling at the same time. Newly appointed Catholic bishops were told by French Monsignor Tony Anatrella that they don't have to report clerical child abuse. Guess where the responsibility lies? With the victim, of course.

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A training document released by the Vatican earlier this month says bishops are only expected to report the abuse internally. It states:

According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds.

It's hard to believe and yet it's not. For decades the Church not only ignored taking the right, moral, and just action, but it also willfully looked the other way and allowed such abuse to continue. 

This news undoes a lot of the goodwill Pope Francis has worked tirelessly to generate. In 2014, the Pontiff rebuked those who've covered for abusers, saying:

There is no place in the Church's ministry for those who commit these abuses, and I commit myself not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not.

While it's wonderful that he was so outspoken, how is this not common sense? How, after all these years of horror and scandal, is there still not a universal zero-tolerance policy in effect?

More from The Stir: Vatican Says Men & Women Sin Differently

Turning a blind eye to abuse is never the right or the moral answer. Need proof? Look how it turned out for Joe Paterno and the Duggar family.

Hearing statements like these is extremely concerning for parents, regardless of their faith. Putting the safety of innocent children first should be at the forefront of these leaders' minds.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, a special commission organized by Pope Francis, reportedly wasn't involved in putting together these guidelines. We can only hope that this training document is revised immediately for the safety of children worldwide.

 

Image via mbrozinio/Shutterstock

 

 

 

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