Vatican’s New Manual Tells Bishops to Report Crimes to Police, But Stops Short of Requiring It
A new manual on how to handle cases of clergy abuse has been released by Vatican officials that contains no-brainer requirements that church officials report abuse allegations to police, but without any sort of teeth to enforce this requirement. Once again, we see “reform” from the Vatican that is anything but.
Current Vatican policy only requires church officials to report allegations to police only when “local laws require it.” The new updated language from the Vatican now directs bishops and religious superiors to report all cases to law enforcement even if not required by law, but there is nothing in the manual to enforce this new policy, making it little more than a suggestion.
This new guidance is a step forward, but the smallest of steps. Pope Francis has the ability and authority to make a binding policy that would require bishops and superiors to direct all allegations to police immediately or face significant punishment from the Vatican. By choosing not to do that, church officials continue to drag their feet towards progress.
We continue to believe that change will come only when forced on the church by independent, secular officials. Rather than hope that church officials will listen to Pope Francis’ new suggestion, attorneys general in every single state should be launching independent investigations into clergy abuse, using subpoena power and grand jury to force the truth into the public square and ensure that children are protected from abusers and that enablers are removed form positions of power.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 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)