Vatican wants accountability for abusers, those who protected them

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring


— In the wake of a grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse in six dioceses in
Pennsylvania, a Vatican spokesman called the abuses described in the report as
being “criminal and morally reprehensible.”

should know that the pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his
priority, and the church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror
that destroys the lives of the innocent,” said Greg Burke, head of the
Vatican press office, in a written statement Aug. 16.

“Those acts
were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith.
The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be
accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur,”
he wrote.

“The Holy See
condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors,” Burke wrote and, as
such, “the Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all
levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and
vulnerable adults from harm.”

“The Holy See
also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including
mandatory child abuse reporting requirements,” he added.

The statement, sent
in Italian with unofficial English and Spanish translations, came after the
Pennsylvania attorney general held a news conference Aug. 14 announcing a
900-page report detailing decades of child sexual abuse by 301 priests, who
harmed more than 1,000 victims.

In response the report,
Burke said, “there are two words that can express the feelings faced with
these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow.”

“The Holy
Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the
spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a
safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the church and in all of
society,” the spokesman said.

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article