Issues of Child Sexual Abuse
The Vatican has finally decided to take action regarding previous requests by a United Nations Committee about the inquiry on sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has released a record of issues to the officials from the Holy See. A conference is anticipated to happen early on next year.
From the document, “List of issues to be taken up in connection with the consideration of the second periodic report of the Holy See.” Paragraph 11 of the manuscript of CRC states that;
“In the light of the recognition by the Holy See of sexual violence against children committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns in numerous countries around the world, and given the scale of the abuses, please provide detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns or brought to the attention of the Holy See.”
Pope Francis’ Actions
Pope Francis immediately reacted by responding to the request by revealing records on the Church providing financial compensation to sexually abused victims. Francis also seeks to release previous records on whether or not there were “under the table” deals to uphold the image of the Church. With the Roman Catholic Church addressing the long globally on-going debate on clerical abuse, by requesting senior clerics to renounce the secrecy of confidential documents, perhaps this will show the Church in a different light.
Following his inauguration, Pope Francis had said that “we wished for the Vatican to put an end to the secretive situation”. In April, a spokesperson said that the church would “act decisively in sex abuses, above all promoting measures to protect minors, assistance for all those who in the past suffered such violence, [and] necessary measures against the guilty”.
New Initiative Brings Hope
The Vatican had been pressured many times by the CRC in the past in order to put an end to the clerical issue on sexual abuse. A spokesperson for Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, Barbara Blain made a statement last month: “The fact that a UN committee has called the Vatican to account for its record on children’s rights, including the right to be free from sexual violence and exploitation, is giving survivors all over the world hope.”
The new action that the Church is taking is an admirable feat. Perhaps this is a good way to shed the image of the medieval, a connotation that always came with it. As opposed to constantly lecturing and labeling others as sinners in hypocrisy; by making a move in accepting that the Church too is capable of making mistakes.