'Vatican refuses to stop abuse': victims' group

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Pope Francis in December set up a commission to advise on child abuse. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
12:54 CET+01:00
The Catholic Church and Pope Francis have "refused to take action that will protect children", the president of a network for abuse victims has said in response to a damning UN report blasting the Vatican's failure to stamp out child abuse.

Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told The Local that more action needs to be taken by the Holy See.

“Church officials have refused to take any action that will protect children. All Pope Francis has done is set up a commission but that does not protect children,” Blaine said.

The pontiff set up a special commission in December to advise the Church on how to better respond to a series of revelations of sex abuse in recent years.

READ MORE: Vatican sets up child sex abuse committee

Weeks later the Holy See announced that 400 priests were defrocked over child abuse during Pope Benedict XVI's papacy, between 2005 and 2013.

READ MORE: Vatican defrocked 400 priests after scandals

The UN report on Wednesday called on the Vatican to turn over all child abusers to police, a move supported by Blaine: “Anyone who covers up for a rapist or sexual predator should be fired and all the records that the church holds should be turned over the police.”

She also said that the report, by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, should be a wake-up call to governments internationally.

“Now more than ever we hope that heads of states will read this report and act on it. Law enforcement in each nation is responsible for protecting children...just because the rapist is wearing a Roman collar does not mean a different standard should apply,” she added.

As head of the survivors’ network, Blaine said abuse of children within the Catholic Church has had a “devastating” effect and “shattered lives”.

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“It breaks relationships within families, it destroys communities. Church officials and Pope Francis have the ability to stop it but they refuse,” she said.

READ MORE: Vatican must report child abusers to police: UN

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