• Italy's news in English
 

Cardinal defends sex abuse policy

AFP · 30 Mar 2014, 11:47

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
Italy anger mounts over Cairo student's torturous death
Italian student Giulio Regeni was murderd in Cairo last week. Photo: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP

Italy anger mounts over Cairo student's torturous death
29 minutes ago

Evidence points to the Egyptian security services as the student's most likely killer.

Raffaele Sollecito creates a social network for the dead
Raffaele Sollecito spent four years in prison for the murder of Meredith Kercher before being acquittted last year. Photo: Fillipo Monteforte / AFP

Raffaele Sollecito creates a social network for the dead
1 hour ago

Raffaele Sollecito, who along with Amanda Knox was acquitted of murdering Meredith Kercher, talks to The Local about his unusual new venture.

Three sentenced for up to 16 years for Milan machete attack
The attack happened last June at Milan's Villapizzone station. Screengrab: Corriere TV

Three sentenced for up to 16 years for Milan machete attack
2 hours ago

A train conductor almost lost his arm in the brutal attack.

Video
Seventy hurt by flying oranges in Italy's crazy fruit fight
Ivrea's traditional 'Battle of the Oranges'. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Seventy hurt by flying oranges in Italy's crazy fruit fight
4 hours ago

But that's fewer than last year...

Fans fulfil mask pledge to racism victim Koulibaly
People hold flyers depicting the face of Napoli's French defender Kalidou Koulibaly in solidarity with the player, who suffered racist abuse last week. Photo: Carlo Hermann/AFP

Fans fulfil mask pledge to racism victim Koulibaly
6 hours ago

Lazio were later handed a €50,000 fine over the racist chants.

‘Spare no effort’ to resolve Syrian crisis, says pope
“I appeal to the international community to spare no effort to urgently bring parties back to the negotiating table,” the pontiff said. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

‘Spare no effort’ to resolve Syrian crisis, says pope
21 hours ago

Pope Francis on Sunday urged the world community to make every effort to revive the Syrian peace talks and appealed for unstinting generosity for civilians fleeing the conflict.

Former victim leaves Vatican child sex abuse commission
St Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican. Photo: Alberto PIzzoli/AFP

Former victim leaves Vatican child sex abuse commission
1 day ago

A former paedophilia victim has left the Vatican advisory commission on sexual abuse by the clergy, the Vatican announced Saturday, two days after the British campaigner criticized the body in the press.

Four probed after Italian actor hanged during live show
Four people are being investigated after an actor was hanged during a live show. Photo: Facebook

Four probed after Italian actor hanged during live show
2 days ago

The young actor, who was hanged during a theatre performance last weekend, was declared clinically brain dead on Thursday.

Interview
How Under the Tuscan Sun changed a small Italian town
Author Frances Mayes still spends several months a year in Cortona. Photo: Will Garin

How Under the Tuscan Sun changed a small Italian town
3 days ago

It's been 20 years since Under the Tuscan Sun was published. Set in Cortona, American author Frances Mayes talks to us about how much the town has changed since.

Italian police find €200k in elderly sisters' squalid home
Police were shocked to find the cash stashed in a squalid apartment in Rome. Photo: Remo/Flickr

Italian police find €200k in elderly sisters' squalid home
3 days ago

The booty was found in the home of the siblings, who were living in squalor in central Rome.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
How Under the Tuscan Sun changed a small Italian town
National
Ten things to do in Italy in February
Ten fantastic holidays for Italy-loving foodies
5,000 migrant kids vanished in Italy: but where are they?
National
What you need to know about Italy's new smoking laws
Politics
Why Italy's scrapping to be let into Europe's big boys' club
International
US museum gives Italy back looted head of Greek statue
National
Why Italy has no choice but to pass gay civil unions bill
National
Rome's nude statues covered to spare Rouhani's blushes
National
Thousands march in Italy for gay rights
National
Meet Dante Alighieri's stargazing Italian descendant
National
Why are tourists turning away from Rome?
Culture
Ten wonderfully quirky Italian animal-related idioms
Society
Italy chills out over medical cannabis cultivators
National
Italy gay unions face defeat as left-wing Catholics rebel
National
Bronze Age village found near ancient Roman city
Health
Probe sheds light on Italy childbirth deaths
International
Europe's open border policy not working: Italy
Culture
Italians petition God to 'bring back David Bowie'
Sport
Italian female footballers defy mafia-style threats
Politics
Italy halts plan to stop fining illegal migrants
3,238
jobs available