The United Nations slammed the Vatican for the way in which it handled the hundreds of priest sexual abuse cases it is accused of covering up for.
A committee looking into the child sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church for years didn’t mince words and heavily criticized the Holy See for its teachings on homosexuality, abortion, and gender equality.
In their report, the United Nations demand that the Vatican immediately reveal the names of any priests suspected of sexually molesting children and end its “code of silence” by ordering diocese to report misbehavior to local authorities.
The Catholic Church has been accused of covering up sexual assault cases by moving priests from parish to parish in an effort to keep their reputation intact.
The United Nations committee also urged the Vatican to open its archives on sexual allegations against current and former clerics.
The unprecedented report accuses the church of being more worried about protecting their reputation than showing concern for the victims that have come forward.
The UN calls for the immediate removal of all known or suspected abusers from church’s ranks and demands it establishes an “independent mechanism for monitoring children’s rights” to investigate future complaints and work with local law enforcement.
The Vatican permanent observer to the United Nations Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, told Vatican Radio the Catholic Church has done much for the protection of children, but should do more:
“We have to continue to refine, to enact provisions that protect children in all their necessities so that they may grow and become productive adults in society and their dignity be constantly respected.”
Last month the Holy See sent two top officials to appear before the United Nations panel at a hearing in Geneva, Switzerland, to acknowledge — for the first time in public — the mishandling of the sexual abuse allegations.
Tomasi, however, said the UN has no right to ask the Catholic Church to change its teachings and accused the committee of being influenced by gay groups.
“Trying to ask the Holy See to change its teachings is not negotiable.” Tomasi stated.
The Vatican — who has been receiving positive coverage since the election of Pope Francis I — has been bracing itself for the report, which the United Nations has no way of enforcing.
The report concludes, in part:
“(The Committee) is gravely concerned that the Holy See 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.”
Tomasi said the Holy See will study the United Nations report, but condemned the suggestions that the church should revise its stance on abortion:
“This is a contradiction with the principle of life that the convention itself should support, recommending that children be protected before and after birth.”
Pope Francis has vowed to do more to protect the children and has ordered a senior Vatican official to carry out “due proceedings against the guilty.”
The United Nations report comes after the Church revealed that almost 400 priests left the priesthood in 2011 and 2012 because of accusations that they had sexually abused children.