United Nations Questions Laws that Protect Abusive Priests

For immediate release, January 31, 2019

Last week, a United Nations committee focused on children’s rights questioned the Italian government about clerical sexual abuse in the country, expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges.

We are grateful that U.N. officials continue to pressure politicians to better protect children, especially in institutional settings like churches and particularly the Catholic community.

All too often, secular authorities tread lightly around religious institutions, even when the safety of boys and girls is at stake. All too often, tight bonds between politicians and church figures enable clerics who commit or conceal heinous crimes to escape detection and punishment. All too often, church bureaucrats and lobbyists weaken secular laws designed to prevent abuse.

These disturbing patterns need to be disrupted. The well-being of the young must trump the comfort, convenience and careers of those entrusted to care for them. External pressure from governmental entities is often the best way to do this, especially in institutions like the Catholic Church that are ancient, rigid, secretive and male dominated.

Just five years ago, 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. We in SNAP are proud to have been a part of that effort.

Politicians take note: the days of safe, cozy and mutually beneficial relationships that involve overlooking child sex crimes and cover ups in churches are waning.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Terry Steubenville
    commented 2019-02-05 01:40:51 -0600
    When the U.N. Looked at this befire, the Vatican ducked it by saying that the Vatican did not manage the work of local bishops conferences. I will try to find the exact quote. I posted that article not long ago.

    But the Vatican did, in fact, just that when the USCCB met in Baltimore. I feel like this is something that we could address .

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