Vatican: Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco says Keeping Quiet on Sex Abuse Can Protect Victims

International Business Times

By Ludovica Iaccino March 31, 2014

A leading Italian cleric says the Vatican’s decision to exempt bishops from being required to report cases of suspected child sex abuse is partly to protect victims.

Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops’ Conference and once considered as a future pope, told reporters that although the Vatican requires national laws to be respected, the decision to adopt the policy has been taken in part to protect victims who may not want to press charges.

“What is important is to respect the will of the victims and their relatives, who may not want to report the abuse, for personal reasons,” he said. “We need to be careful that we, in the clergy, do not undermine the right to privacy, discretion and confidentiality, and the right of the victims to not be ‘exposed’ in the public square.”

According to the new guidelines, clergy are under no obligation to inform the authorities about suspected abuse but have a “moral duty” to act to protect the vulnerable and “contribute to the common good”.

The new policy has sparked fury among victim support groups, which condemned the “stunning, depressing and irresponsible contradiction between what Vatican officials say about abuse, and do about abuse,” AFP reported.

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