New rulings on clerical child abuse go against Pope Francis’ instituted policies.
Newly appointed bishops are being instructed by the Catholic Church that they are not obligated to report any accusation related to clerical child abuse. The latest notification also allegedly says that only the victims or families of the victim should take the decision to report such abuse to law enforcement. These instructions were an excerpt from a training manual published by the Vatican.
The document states that as per civil laws of a particular country where it is mandatory to make a report, it may not necessarily be the bishop's duty to report any suspect or suspects to the authorities, or the state prosecutors or to the police in the time they became aware of sinful deeds or criminal activities.
You'd think by now that the Vatican would have learned to take child protection a bit more seriously https://t.co/WOshFMfjhf
— British Humanists (@BHAhumanists) February 11, 2016
It is natural that groups working to support victims are extremely angry after the contents of this document became public knowledge. However, the Pope Francis created Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, made with the aim to establish a codex for “best practices” for the Catholic Church to fight against the abuse of children, were not a part of this training process.
If you read about the Catholic Church's history with child abuse and cover-ups, but change church to 'club', you'd throw them all in jail.
— MrOzAtheist (@MrOzAtheist) February 11, 2016
The author of these guidelines was Tony Anatrella, a controversial psychotherapist and French monsignor. This particular consignor was previously known for his promoting views of “gender theory.” This is a controversial belief which holds that the west's rising acceptance of homosexuality has led to the creation of a number of significant problems for the children exposed to abnormal sexual orientation notions.
Anatrella's views related to homosexuality are reflected in the guidelines. There is also the downplaying of the seriousness related to systemic child abuse legacy of the Catholic Church. According to rights groups helping the victims, this legacy continues to be a problem even in the present. Although the training guide acknowledges that the Catholic Church was significantly affected by a number of sexual crimes committed against children, it also highlights statistics that show vast majority of all sexual assaults targeted against children are usually committed by family, neighbors and friends. Other authority figures like the church rarely come to the scene.
This training course started in 2001 and approximately 30 percent of Catholic prelates have taken the course. New bishops were presented with such child abuse guidelines in September. Pope Francis has asked members of the Catholic church to show zero tolerance if children or vulnerable adults are sexually abused by clergy.