No sharing of abuse details – Holy See

UN requests for reports turned down

The Holy See is refusing to share information on clerical sexual abuse gleaned from its own internal investigations with a United Nations committee charged with ensuring compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Vatican ñ among 193 states – signed in 1990.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child had established contact with the Holy See towards gaining fuller details of cases of clerical abuse brought to its attention between 2010 and 2012.

"Please provide data, disaggregated by age, sex, ethnic origin and socio-economic status, on cases of violence against children within the family reported to institutions of the Holy See and the actions taken to protect children and prevent further violence," the committee requested.

However, the Holy See has refused to comply, citing a desire to protect its own procedures, as well as the accused and witnesses. Proceedings, it said, ìare not open to the publicî.

Explaining the Holy Seeís decision at a press conference on December 4, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, making reference to Ireland in response to a specific question on the Magdalen laundries said: "Given that the convention operates on a territorial basis, the responsibility of these issues is under the jurisdiction of Ireland and the Irish Government and Irish laws."

On December 5, the Holy See announced that, in order to better implement the Convention of the Rights of the Child, it is establishing its own commission to implement safeguarding guidelines for Vatican City State. This decision came as a result of the work of the Council of Cardinals, comprising eight prelates chosen by Pope Francis to identify areas of reform within the Curia.

The new commission will develop training programmes, advise on cooperation with law-enforcement bodies and promote care for victims of abuse, in collaboration with experts on the subject. The panel will be composed of experts on sexual abuse and prevention.