#Vatican Brimming With #Paedophiles : Prosecutor Warns Bishop Against Covering Up Child Abuse !
The Vatican's top prosecutor on Wednesday called for stricter accountability for bishops who cover up child abuse crimes and said 1,000 cases had been reported to him in the past two years alone.
"Ecclesial accountability has to be further developed. How do you sanction a bishop? That is something that Canon law reserves for the pope personally," Charles Scicluna said on the sidelines of a Vatican summit on the issue.
"Once you set standards you have to respect them. It would certainly be the responsibility of the pope and the Holy See," he said. He added that he believed a "culture of silence" on the issue of abuse persisted in the Church. Archbishop Scicluna said his office at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Church's top enforcement body, had received more than 4,000 reports of child abuse since 2001 including 1,000 since 2009.
He said most of the cases dated back decades and that many of the most recent reports had been from Europe, while there had been a gradual decline in the United States following the putting in place of strict rules by the Church.
Asked about requests for damages from the Church, Scicluna said it was up to civil courts, adding: "A priest is liable for the damages. The principle is: 'If I break something I pay for it'. A priest is not ordained to harm people."
Scicluna said Church laws against abuse had been bolstered by late pope John Paul II and his successor Benedict XVI, including an increase in the statute of limitations on paedophile crimes to 20 years after the victim turns 18.
Benedict launched the unprecedented four-day Vatican summit on Monday with a call for "profound renewal of the Church at every level" and for "a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support."
The meeting brings together 100 representatives of national bishops' conferences and the leaders of 33 religious orders as well as abuse victim Marie Collins, a leading voice in pushing for justice in Ireland.