UN Rips Vatican: You Failed Kids, Saved Sex Abusers

Church 'regrets' that panel is interfering with its teaching

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 5, 2014 6:17 AM CST | Updated Feb 5, 2014 7:46 AM CST

(Newser) – The United Nations is hammering the Vatican for what a panel calls a failure to fully address sex abuse in the Catholic Church. "The Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests," the Committee on the Rights of the Child says, per the New York Times. The Vatican "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The church "still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children," the panel says. Leaders must "immediately remove" priests linked to child abuse. The Vatican, the BBC notes, responded that while it "takes note of the concluding observations," it "does, however, regret to see an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of the human person." The church also "reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child." The BBC notes that the Vatican has denied UN requests for records on the abuse; church officials say they only release the information when a government seeks it in a legal case.

Pope Francis meets bishops at the end of  his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Pope Francis meets bishops at the end of his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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