Catholic bishops not obliged to report clerical child abuse, Vatican says

catholic church sex abuse scandal priest bishop boy on cross cartoon Michael Ramirez los angeles timesI can only perhaps suggest just one simple response to the latest Guardian article, and basically it is – WTF!

The article reads …

Vatican guide says ‘not necessarily’ bishop’s duty to report suspects to police despite Pope Francis’s vows to redress Catholic church’s legacy of child abuse.

The Catholic church is telling newly appointed bishops that it is “not necessarily” their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse and that only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.

A document that spells out how senior clergy members ought to deal with allegations of abuse, which was recently released by the Vatican, emphasised that, though they must be aware of local laws, bishops’ only duty was to address such allegations internally.

“According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds,” the training document states.

The training guidelines were written by a controversial French monsignor and psychotherapist, Tony Anatrella, who serves as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Vatican released the guidelines – which are part of a broader training programme for newly named bishops – at a press conference earlier this month and is now seeking feedback.

Details of the Catholic church’s policy were first reported in a column by a veteran Vatican journalist, John Allen, associate editor of the Catholic news site,

Are these guys seriously incapable of making just one decent moral choice and actually reporting child abuse? Apparently not, and that is official guidance.

I confess to being complete and utterly astonished at the degree of their moral bankruptcy and totally blown away by their inability to learn from past mistakes. What this reveals is that their supposed policy of “zero tolerance” of abuse has been a complete and utter sham, and outright lie.

It should perhaps come as no surprise to learn that the Guardian has very wisely not run a comments section under that article. I can well imagine if they had that it would have then resulted is several full-time staff members being dedicated to censoring the flow of well-known anglo-saxon phrases not normally seen in print within such comments.

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