Italy’s Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco has defended a Vatican policy exempting bishops from having to report suspected child sex abuse to the police.
A leading Italian cleric has defended a decision to adopt a Vatican-approved policy exempting bishops from having to report suspected child sex abuse to the police.
“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 on Saturday.
A day earlier, the conference published guidelines stipulating that clergy are under no obligation to inform 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 moving predator clerics from one diocese to another rather than reporting them, thereby putting other children at risk.
Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.