The Catholic Church

Catholic cardinal: The church ‘destroyed’ files documenting sexual abuse by priests

Just two days before news broke about the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Vatican official to ever be taken down for child sex abuse, a German Roman Catholic cardinal claimed that the Catholic church “destroyed” documents in an effort to cover up allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests.

Speaking at the Vatican summit this Saturday, Cardinal Reinhard Marx declared that the abuse children suffered at the hands of the church was due to an “abuse of power in the area of administration.”

“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created,” Marx said according to NBC News. “Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them. The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of [offenses] were deliberately not complied with, but instead cancelled or overridden. The rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot, and left to the whims of individuals.”

Marx called for a major increase in transparency, which included releasing to the public information on sex abuse cases and legal proceedings, as well as uprooting the culture of secrecy within the church.

In a press conference after the summit, Marx told NBC News that the documents that weren’t destroyed were “manipulated” or did not contain the necessary “responsibilities” required to deal with cases of sexual abuse. He added that he was only speaking for his diocese in Germany, but he didn’t believe his findings were isolated.

Just before the summit, another high-ranking church official, American cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was banned from the church after a Vatican investigation found evidence that he sexually abused minors.

This Monday, multiple outlets reported that the former Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell was convicted in December for the abuse of two choir boys in 1996. Due to Australian law, the verdict wasn’t able to be reported worldwide until now.

Pell is due to be sentenced this Wednesday. To date, he’s the most senior Vatican official to be convicted for sexual abuse.

Featured image via Flickr

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