News / Europe

UN Committee to Issue Report on Pedophile Priests

UN Calls on Vatican to Remove Clergy Accused of Child Abusei
X
February 05, 2014 12:41 AM
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on the Vatican "immediately remove" all clergy accused of child abuse and turn them over to civil authorities. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child will issue recommendations on Wednesday following an investigation into the Vatican’s response to the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy. Although the recommendations are non-binding, it marks the first time the Holy See had to answer questions at an international hearing dedicated to the issue.

Priests have been convicted, and dioceses bankrupted by lawsuits.  But last month’s hearing in Geneva was the first time the Vatican had to answer an international panel’s questions about pedophile priests.

The Vatican's U.N. representative Archbishop Silvano Tomasi testified.

"The Holy See has carefully delineated policies and procedures designed to help eliminate such abuse,” he said.

But the Vatican has refused to hand over detailed information on the more than 4,000 cases that have been brought to its attention.

“Right as the abuse scandals started to emerge out of Boston, I got the chance to tell my story…,” said Mark Serrano, who says he had to sue to get the church to acknowledge that his priest sodomized him in the 1970s and 80s.  He says his perpetrator was reassigned to another parish and forced sex on dozens more children.

Serrano became a spokesman for American victims.

“We want all sex offenders, past , present and future removed,” he said.

And he doesn’t believe what the prelates said in Geneva.

“They obfuscate. They deny. They gloss over," Serrano said. "They offer words of reassurance. Just like words that were offered to me as a young man of reassurance from my bishop. It’s the same routine, the same act, that I witnessed 30 years ago.”

“Something very, very wrong happened in our church,” said John Carr, who now teaches at the Jesuit-run Georgetown University in Washington.  He used to work for the U.S. Bishops Conference,  and he downplays the U.N. investigation.

“The U.N. thing, that’s just fine. I think we ought to be held to account. But far more fundamental is the changes that are coming about every day in the attitudes behaviors and practices of our church,” he said.

The Vatican disclosed, a day after the Geneva hearing, that Pope Benedict had defrocked hundreds of abusive priests.

But Serrano says that bishops should also be accountable.

“Nothing will truly change, unless Pope Francis decides to excommunicate bishops for hiding child sex offenders,” he said.

Pope Francis has created a commission on protecting children. But critics say it’s a disappointing response, from a pontiff who has done much to burnish the image of the church.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid