UN panel probes Italy’s role in Church’s child abuse scandals
ROME - A United Nations Committee for the protection of minors questioned the Italian government last week about clerical sexual abuse in the country, expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges.
“We are saddened by the lack of information regarding sexual abuse against minors by Catholic clergy, and we are concerned by the information we have received that points to numerous clerical abuse victims,” said Spanish Professor Jorge Cardona, a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, during a Jan. 22-23 hearing.
Representatives of the Italian government were asked to answer questions before the committee at the UN’s High Commissioner in Geneva regarding the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Recommendations drawn from the hearing will be issued by the UN on Feb. 7.
This was hardly the first time the UN panel has taken an interest in the Catholic Church’s record on child sexual abuse.
In February 2014, the Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a blistering report accusing the Vatican of fostering a “code of silence” that “systematically” put the reputation of the Church and offending priests over the protection of child victims. The panel also called for changes in Catholic teaching on issues such as abortion, contraception and gay marriage.
In this case, the committee appe...