• Italy's news in English
 

Cardinal defends sex abuse policy

Published: 30 Mar 2014 11:47 GMT+02:00

"The Vatican requires national laws to be respected, and we know that there is no such duty (to report abuse) under Italian law," Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops' Conference, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Genoa.

The conference published guidelines on Friday which stipulated that clergy are under no obligation to inform the authorities about suspected abuse but have a "moral duty" to act to protect the vulnerable and "contribute to the common good".

The guidelines sparked fury among victim support groups, with the US-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) deploring the "stunning, depressing and irresponsible contradiction between what Vatican officials say about abuse, and do about abuse."

The Church has repeatedly been accused by victims of covering up abuse by priests and simply moving predator clerics from one diocese to another rather than reporting them, thereby putting other children at risk.

Bishops in possession of information on possible abuse cases have been required by the Vatican to report to the authorities since 2010, but only in those countries where they are required to do so under national law.

Bagnasco said the decision to adopt the Vatican's policy had been taken in part to protect victims who may not want to press charges.

"What is important is to respect the will of the victims and their relatives, who may not want to report the abuse, for personal reasons," Bagnasco said.

"We need to be careful that we in the clergy do not undermine the right to privacy, discretion and confidentiality, and the right of the victims to not be 'exposed' in the public square", he said.

The Vatican was denounced by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in February for failing to stamp out predatory priests, and urged to hand over suspected abusers for prosecution.

Pope Francis has defended the Church, saying it has done more than "any other institution" in tackling paedophilia, and last weekend he appointed a woman who had been molested by a priest as a child as part of a new commission on fighting clerical sexual abuse.
 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Exor strikes $6.9bn deal to buy PartnerRe
Italian-based investment company Exor, controlled by the Agnelli family, has struck a $6.9 billion deal to buy PartnerRe. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Exor strikes $6.9bn deal to buy PartnerRe

Italian-based investment company Exor, controlled by the Agnelli family, said on Monday it had struck a $6.9 billion (€6.3 billion) deal to buy reinsurer PartnerRe. READ  

How Silvio Berlusconi fascinated and appalled
Michael Day (L), the author of "Being Berlusconi: The Rise and Fall from Cosa Nostra to Bunga Bunga”. Photos: The Local Italy (L) and Andreas Solaro/AFP (R).

How Silvio Berlusconi fascinated and appalled

Love him or loathe him, there’s no question that Silvio Berlusconi has left an indelible mark in Italy. We spoke to Michael Day, the author of a witty new book about his life to find out more about the ambitious businessman from Milan who went on to lead Italy three times. READ  

Italy cracks sheep code in mafia sweep
An identikit image of Matteo Messina Denaro, designed by the police in 2006. Photo: Polizia di Stato/Wikicommons

Italy cracks sheep code in mafia sweep

UPDATED: Italian police on Monday arrested 11 suspects linked to the fugitive head of the Sicilian mafia, including a former boss who ran a secret message system for the mobster using a sheep-based code. READ  

Florence mulls refugees for storm clean-up
A tree in Florence felled by strong winds during the storm. Photo: Claudio Giovanni/AFP

Florence mulls refugees for storm clean-up

Tuscany's leaders are considering making refugees help clean up Florence after the Tuscan jewel was the battered by a violent storm on Saturday evening. READ  

Video
Foo Fighters pledge Italy visit after viral video
Over 1,000 musicians performing there performing the group’s “Learn to Fly” in a park in Cesena. Screengrab/YouTube

Foo Fighters pledge Italy visit after viral video

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters has promised to bring the American band to a central Italian town after a video put together by Italian musicians performing the group’s “Learn to Fly” went viral. READ  

Italy's anti-establishment party 'ready to govern'
Luigi Di Maio, 29, is the youngest deputy president of the lower house of parliament in Italian history. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Italy's anti-establishment party 'ready to govern'

Italy's anti-establishment Five Star party, founded in 2009 by former comedian Beppe Grillo, is itching to govern and has a man primed for the top job. READ  

Rome rules out using Vatican for Olympic bid
Rome last held the summer Games in 1960. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Rome rules out using Vatican for Olympic bid

Rome will not use the Vatican for events in its 2024 Olympic bid, a top Italian sports official said on Sunday, as Toronto gave stronger hints that it will join the campaign. READ  

Thank the ancient Romans for 'street food'
Ancient Roman amphorae, once used to transport wine. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Thank the ancient Romans for 'street food'

Grabbing something hot and tasty on the move? You have the ancient Romans to thank. "Street food" was their invention, generally enjoyed with wine, gambling or even prostitutes. READ  

Rapper Snoop Dogg held by Italian customs
Snoop Dogg. Photo: Theo Wargo / Getty Images North America / AFP

Rapper Snoop Dogg held by Italian customs

Rap star Snoop Dogg has been stopped by police in Italy while carrying $422,000 (€384,000) in cash, authorities say. READ  

Italy's Ruffini wins gold and girlfriend's hand
Simone Ruffini proposing to his girlfriend on the podium. Photo: Roman Kruchinin / AFP

Italy's Ruffini wins gold and girlfriend's hand

Italy's Simone Ruffini won the world championship men's marathon 25km open water gold medal on Saturday and celebrated by proposing to his girlfriend on the podium. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Italy's south is worse off than Greece
National
What happens to Italy’s missing migrant kids?
National
Rome mayor fights for survival amid chaos
National
Six dodgy fashion trends to emerge from Italy
National
Is Italy about to legalize cannabis?
National
Rome's 'decay' prompts council reshuffle
Business & Money
Chinese are quaffing more Italian wine
Travel
Seven daft TripAdvisor comments about Italy
National
Italian town bans dog barking during naptime
National
Tornado predicted as Italy heatwave ends
National
Italy told to recognize same-sex couple rights
National
Migrant girl dies after insulin thrown in sea
National
Heatwave kills 140 pensioners in Piedmont
National
Treviso homeowners burn migrants' furniture
National
Tourists in hot water for Rome fountain dips
Migrants rush to help after Venice tornado
Politics
Isis steps up campaign with Italy consulate hit
National
Paolini tweets 'sorry' for cocaine shame
Travel
Where and how to take a great selfie in Italy
National
Venice tornado captured on video
Travel
London is great for jobs, but not the dolce vita
Travel
Five Italian Unesco sites you won't have heard of
National
Nesting flamingos a first for Sicily
Travel
Passenger fury over BA’s late Italy airport switch
National
How to keep cool like an ancient Roman
Travel
Chaos deepens at Rome's blaze-hit airport
National
Italy raises terror alert after attacks
National
Sardinia's poor give all to refugees
National
A beginner's guide to aperitivo in Italy
Fake Italian restaurant tops TripAdvisor ranking
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
National
Italian grandfather, 91, completes middle school
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Is this Italy's most violent sport?
National
Italy smashes record for tallest Lego tower
Travel
Dark tourism: Italy's creepiest attractions
National
Italo-American cuisine mocked on Facebook
National
Italy's immigrants send billions back home
National
Why Italians aren’t having more babies
National
The pros and cons of being an au pair in Italy
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
National
Italy: we'll hurt Europe over migrant crisis
Top that! Italy snatches pizza title from Spain
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,450
jobs available