Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Vatican responds to sexual abuse allegations, calls them ‘morally reprehensible’

It's time for #MeToo in the Catholic church 'Lay Your Sin at the Foot of Christ': PA Catholic Priest Abuse Accuser Speaks Out
Deanna Wagner | 18 August, 2018, 05:59

The Vatican is responding to a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing sexual abuse by priests.

The almost 900-page report describes in graphic detail decades of sexual assaults, grooming of minors to make them more vulnerable and other abuses by priests and other clergy.

The report has sparked calls for other states to commission similar investigations, compounded pressure on state legislatures to act and on the Catholic Church to take action against bishops. CBS News' Nikki Battiste joins CBSN with the latest developments.

In uncharacteristically strong language, a spokesman decried the crimes committed by clergy who raped and molested children in six dioceses and as "criminally and morally reprehensible".

The comments by the NY attorney general's office Friday come on the heels of a sweeping grand jury report that also accused a succession of bishops and other church leaders of helping to keep quiet allegations against 300 "predator priests" who had victimized more than 1,000 children.

Most declined to confirm or deny any investigations, said their state laws limited their ability to take on wide-ranging criminal investigations or did not respond to requests for comment.

Burke also said the Vatican emphasizes the "need to comply with civil law", including child abuse requirements.

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This evening the Vatican said the Church "must learn hard lessons from its past", and vowed to hold abusers and enablers accountable.

The so-called Dallas Charter - approved by US Catholic bishops in 2002, after sex abuse was first unearthed in Boston - implemented discipline for abusive priests, but did not extend all the way up to bishops.

"Health leave" is a euphemism for time in a church-run treatment facility after a sexual abuse scandal.

In a sign that Pope Francis wants to end that pervasive mind set among church hierachy, including bishops and cardinals, he recently accepted the resignation from cardinal's rank of former Washington archbishop Theodore McCarrick amid allegations that the American prelate had engaged in sexual misconduct.

Burke's statement did not mention another sex scandal rocking the Catholic Church in the United States: the accusations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a well-connected church leader who led the Archdiocese of Washington from 2001-2006.

The Vatican had been silent for two days before issuing their official statement through Burke. In particular, they supported the investigation of claims without interference from bishops who oversee the priests accused of sexual abuse. "Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop". Only two, in NY and New Mexico, said they had taken some initial steps toward doing so. "We firmly resolve, with the help of God's grace, never to repeat it".