Vatican: 'Civil Law Must Be Respected to Stop Abuse'

February 8, 2012

Vatican City, 8 Feb. :(AKI) - The Vatican's top watchdog said the the Catholic Church must cooperate with police to crackdown on priests suspected of sexually molesting children.

Speaking in Rome on Wednesday during a four-day closed meeting on sex abuse in the Church, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said, "The Church has an obligation to cooperate with the requirements of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the appropriate authorities."

The "Towards Healing and Renewal" international symposium - meant to help bishops design rules to protect children from abuse priests - has been criticized by pedophile victims organisations as being mere public relations. It was attended by around 200 mostly bishops and reportedly some abuse victims.

The Vatican has come under attack for allegedly ignoring reports of abuse and shielding predatory priests by moving them to other dioceses. Levada said the Church must listen to the voices of the abused .

"For many if not most victims a first need is to be heard, to know that the Church listens to their stories of abuse, that the Church understands the gravity of what they have suffered, that she wants to accompany them on the often long path of healing, and that she has taken or is willing to take effective steps to ensure that other children will be protected from such abuse," Levada said.


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