Pope Francis had been put under pressure in order to punish the large quantities of bishops who had covered up many pedophile priests when the U.N. Human Rights panel indicted the Vatican of preserving their reputations instead of the safety of the children. Reports had stated that an estimated 10,667 children had been victims of horrific sexual abuse lasting at least two years per child. These were only the reported cases which means the true number of children sexually abused may be much higher.
The panel has called on the Vatican to get rid of all the priests who have been known or suspected of sexually abuse. They are to be opening the archives on the abusers and the bishops who have been covering up for the abusers. They must then turn them over to the law enforcement authorities in order to start investigations and prosecutions. Many can agree that this should have been done a long time ago and in fact, the Vatican has claimed that they have taken the steps before this has all come up. The committee ignored the Vatican claims of already trying to safe guard the children and indicted the church of the continuation of harboring the pedophile criminals.
It is obvious that the Holy See has not been acknowledging the degree of the crimes committed considering the amounts of sexual abuse cases arising. They claim to have been taking measures but they have not addressed the cases to their full extent to protect the children and have still adopted protocol and guidelines in which has led to many more cases of abuse. The Vatican can see the panel has ignored the measures that the Holy See has taken, but it is not hard to see why, for the obvious reasons that the abuse has continued and become worse since the pedophile priests know they can be covered up by the bishops.
Pope Frances is under pressure to take the action in a time where he has let the abuse be set aside in order to take on other issues such as reforming the Vatican bureaucracy. Now it has become clear that when the Vatican proclaimed in December that the new pope would create a commission to study how to prohibit the sexual abuse and to aid the victims, nothing has been released since on that issue. It was apparent that the reason was because the Holy See had been more concerned about the reputation of the church over the protection of the child victims.
The Vatican has yet to consent for bishops to cover up for the priests and it has been over a decade since the sexual abuse scandal in the United States has hit the people. The investigations had made it clear on what role the bishops truly play. Although the Vatican officials had stated that under the new pope things will be changing, since the Vatican ratified the 1990 treaty to protect the children from harm, the U.S. and two other countries failed to ratify.
Kristen Sandberg, committee chairman has stated that the bishops only transfer the priests to a different parish where they are still in contact with other children and the Vatican has never required them to report the abusers. It is time for the secular officials to step in since the Catholic officials are not willing to do so. The Vatican claimed it has no control over the bishops or priests but the committee rejected that argument after Benyam Mezmur, another committee member, cited a letter from the Vatican cardinal encouraging the Irish bishops to refrain from any policy that may report pedophiles to the police.
The panel has held the Vatican fully responsible for every single priest, church, and school worldwide who has committed sexual abuse. They are now ordered to compensate to all victims around the world including the young women in the church-run workhouses where they were forced into slave labor and had their children taken from them. The Vatican did not raise objection to this and many can agree that action must be taken right now.
Editorial by Brittany Varner-Miller