Rete l'Abuso and Church Accountability in Italy

Rete l'Abuso ("Abuse Network"), the Italian equivalent of SNAP, together with Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) organized a Webinar on Feb 20  to report on the struggle to bring the Catholic Church to account in Italy. 

For obvious reasons Italy is the epicenter of the sexual abuse scandal - and the picture is not pretty.  The speakers reported that the Vatican and the Italian state have close, not to say incestuous relations, aimed mostly at shielding the Church from the consequences of its crimes. In one case a judge and a priest tried to convince a woman who had been raped at 13 to testify that she felt "affection" for the priest. In another, the Church offered to provide the housing for a priest under house arrest - only to let him move about as he pleased.

The speakers also pointed out that the 2019 abolition of the "pontifical secret" in cases of sexual abuse has made little difference in the prosecution of crimes committed by priests. This is partly because this abolition does not apply to  the "seal (i.e. secret) of confession.” The biggest problem remains the fact that clerical pedophilia is considered merely a sin, a crime against God, not a criminal act. The take-away:  In Italy (as elsewhere) the battle  against the vilest of crimes continues - uphill.

For more information, check out the websites for Rete l'Abuso and ECA Global.

If you have any general questions, feel free to reach out to Marc Artzrouni, SNAP Europe Coordinator.

Showing 2 comments

  • Timothy Lennon
    commented 2021-03-01 17:37:55 -0600
    Also, the bishop can decide whether to report to the police or not. There is no mandatory reporting for Italian bishops even when they learn of sexual abuse outside confession.

    While American bishops are mandatory reporters UNLESS it is covered under the ‘seal of confession.’
  • Zach Hiner
    published this page in Blog 2021-03-01 12:43:59 -0600

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