The Vatican Faces Un Committee Over Child Abuse

THE VATICAN FACES UN COMMITTEE OVER CHILD ABUSE

The Vatican’s former Chief Prosecutor of Clerical Sexual Abuse says countries must investigate members of the clergy who cover up child abuse.

For the first time the Vatican is facing questions in public from the UN Committee on Children’s Rights amid historical allegations of prolific child abuse in the Catholic church.

An Irish victim of child abuse has urged the Catholic Church to “admit what they did” before the UN Committee on Children’s Rights in Geneva.

Elizabeth Coppin was just 14 when detained in a Catholic laundry, where nuns shaved her head, gave her a boy’s name and held her in solitary confinement, scarring her for life.

She said “I can never forget what happened to me with the state and the Church, the abuse they inflicted on me as a human being, I will take that abuse with me to my grave”.

Last year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny branded them “Ireland’s shame” and apologised to the hundreds of women who suffered abuse in the institutions.

Victims expect the Vatican to side-step questions at today’s hearing but some of them have faith in Pope Francis, who has pledged a more open and transparent approach.

“He’s a man of the world. We need men of the world and women of the world, not hiding behind a title or behind a palace or behind a cape. That’s not how the Catholic Church is supposed to be” said Ms. Coppin.

Bishop Charles Scicluna said countries had a duty to investigate priests and other members of the Catholic hierarchy who were guilty of covering-up child abuse.

“The states who are cogniscient of obstruction of justice need to take action against citizens of the country who obstruct justice in such an egregious crime of sexual abuse of minors – whoever these people are” he said.

“It is not a policy of the Holy See to encourage cover-ups” he added.

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