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Catholic church tells bishops that it’s ‘not necessarily’ their duty to report sex abuse by priests

A training document released last week by the Vatican, which was issued to newly inducted bishops, states that it is “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse and that “only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.”

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A training document released last week by the Vatican, which was issued to newly inducted bishops, states that it is “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse and that “only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.”

According to The Guardian, the internal document or “memo” gives a detailed modus operandi on how clergy members who face abuse charges are to “be aware of local laws,” adding that the bishops’ only duty is to address the allegations privately behind closed doors.

“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,” the documents states.

The guidelines were released as part of a renewed training program for recently named bishops. A special commission was created by Pope Francis that was supposed to develop “best practices” to prevent and deal with clerical abuse.

However, reports indicate that the commission was neither consulted nor played any role in developing the training program. A church official said it was the committee’s position that reporting abuse to civil authorities was a “moral obligation, whether the civil law requires it or not” and it would be involved in future training efforts.

According to the Guardian, the guidelines downplay the legacy of systemic child abuse within the Catholic church.

Pope Francis has called for the church to install a “zero tolerance” stance on sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults by the clergy. He also said that “everything possible must be done to rid the church of the scourge of the sexual abuse”

“It’s infuriating, and dangerous, that so many believe the myth that bishops are changing how they deal with abuse and that so little attention is paid when evidence to the contrary,” said the victim’s rights group SNAP, who is a U.S.-based advocacy organization.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Catholic church tells bishops that it’s ‘not necessarily’ their duty to report sex abuse by priests | DeadState | 61chrissterry

  2. 61chrissterry

    February 11, 2016 at 12:16 am

    This is shameful and shows that safeguarding is not on the agenda of the Catholic Church, Shared on 61chrissterry

  3. 61chrissterry

    February 11, 2016 at 12:25 am

    It is, however welcoming that Pope Francis appears to not support this training document and therefore while Pope Francis is there, there is hope that safeguarding will be a priority.

  4. Mike Davis

    February 11, 2016 at 3:55 am

    Riiiiiigggghhhhtttt ! It is well known that victims are highly embarrassed and reluctant to report a “superior” person to authorities for fear of rejection or reprisal. Witness the large percentage of rape victims who take decades to admit and confront their violators.

    So if they can continue to bury the evidence, the Catholic church remains a fertile, target-rich environment for child molesters, supplying “celibate” priests with entertainment for their suppressed fetishes.

    I do like the Pope and hope he will crush this attempt to perpetuate this abhorrent abuse. The document was most likely written by some of those still embedded in the hierarchy of the Catholic church…perhaps proof that God is not watching, or doesn’t much care?

  5. 61chrissterry

    February 11, 2016 at 4:06 am

    The fear is from the position of power and authority, which these priests have. They purport to be doing the work of God, so can you have a more powerful person. Surely this abuse is not Gods work and therefore should these priests have the opportunities.

  6. Mike Davis

    February 11, 2016 at 4:23 am

    Religion is a terribly powerful and dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. It is a product, free of cost to the purveyors, and bought by many who accept authority by suggestion and word of mouth. Priests and (especially) evangelical preachers have an almost cult-like following among their faithful, and have an inordinate amount of control over the minds of those who are unable or unwilling to think for themselves. Surrender to that pseudo-authority exposes followers to all manner of unethical ideas and treatment.

    That’s not to say that all religion is bad or suspect. It is only when people trust in another human authority figure rather than using common sense, that it fails – completely – what it purports to provide.

  7. Kit9

    February 11, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Once again the RCC proves itself to be the largest criminal enterprise in the world. Not even their smiling Don can save them.

  8. Sean Murphy

    February 11, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Unless it is said in the confessional, I think the new pope might have a different idea about that
    That manual must have gotten out before he saw it

  9. Cheryl

    February 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    The Catholic church is literally bleeding out when it comes to members of the Catholic Church. I’ve watched the weekend donations in my church (not to mention the people in the pews) dwindle from some $13,000 per Sunday or more down to $8,000 or less. The church used to be packed at the 10:00 mass, which is why I always preferred the 8:00 Mass. Now, there are handfuls of seniors at the early Mass … and only about half the church or so, filled at the most popular Mass slot of the day. The Churches stance on birth control and people’s disgust with the begging for donations over the decades PLUS the scandals with the pedophilia and the church cover-ups is causing serious losses of membership and people joining the vocations. The Pope has brought new life to the church, but if the churches and bishops refuse to change, they will lose their parishes … and their “jobs.”

  10. Tom Beasley

    March 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    WTF if anyone knows about abuse – it is their duty to report it. No ifs, ands, or buts if it is WRONG report it.

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