Church files on pedophile priests destroyed, top Catholic cardinal admits
A top Catholic cardinal admitted yesterday that Church files on priests accused of sexually abusing children were destroyed in a move which allowed pedophiles to prey on others. German-Cardinal Reinhard Marx was speaking on the third day of an unprecedented summit of the world's top bishops convened by Pope Francis in a bid to tackle the crisis over pedophilia within the clergy. Here's more.
Instead of perpetrators, victims were regulated and silenced: Marx
"Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created," Marx told the Vatican summit on a problem that has dogged the Roman Catholic Church for decades. "Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them," he said, adding, "The stipulated procedures for the prosecution of offenses were deliberately not complied with."
Ongoing scandals over sexual abuse have hit Chile, Germany, US
The ongoing scandals over sexual-abuse have escalated with the latest crises hitting Chile, Germany and US. At one point, delegates heard the testimony of a woman who was repeatedly raped by a priest when she was 11. "Engraved in my eyes, ears, nose, body, and soul, are all the times he immobilized me, the child, with superhuman strength," said the woman, who remained anonymous.
Marx's admission about documents sparks angry reaction from ECA association
Back in September, Marx apologized personally to thousands of victims who had been abused by clergy within the German Church, saying the perpetrators must be brought to justice. His admission about the documents on Saturday sparked an angry reaction from Peter Isely of Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA) association, who denounced such destruction of paperwork as "illegal" and demanded an investigation.
What he didn't tell us is who did it: Peter
"What he didn't tell us is... Who did it? Where did they do it? And what did they destroy?" Peter said. Victims marched to the Vatican, holding signs accusing Francis of being deaf to their cries, and urging the expulsion of abusers from the Church.
I didn't remember my rape, it was very violent: Survivor
The victims also demanded the expulsion of those who enabled the abusers. "I didn't remember my rape, it was very violent, until 50 years after it happened," Tim Lennon, from the survivors' network SNAP, said. Investigations have shown that in many cases, priests accused of assaulting minors were transferred to other parishes as bishops turned a blind eye to protect the Church's reputation.
Was essential that victims felt they could 'trust system': Marx
The German Cardinal (a leading dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church) said that the "rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot, and left to the whims of individuals." Marx added was essential that victims felt they could "trust the system." "There are no alternatives to traceability and transparency," he said, admitting efforts to cover-up the scandals had badly undermined the Church's credibility among people.
Meanwhile, survivors lambasting institution for not releasing clergy names
Francis has told his bishops he wants "concrete measures" drawn up against child sex abuse. However, the survivors have lambasted the centuries-old institution for not releasing the names and case files of priests convicted of abuse or possessing child pornography. The Vatican has in the past refused to hand over internal documents about child sexual abuse cases to civil authorities investigating pedophilia.
Call for statistics to be released was 'legitimate': Archbishop Scicluna
On Friday, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the organizers of the summit, said the call for statistics to be released was "legitimate." Marx also called for a rethink of pontifical secrecy, echoing the appeal made on Friday by Linda Ghisoni, a professor of canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), who told the meeting "the current legislation on pontifical secrecy" needed rewriting.
5,000 accounts closed after Vatican bank scandals came to light
Marx said transparency was needed in other areas of the Church, such as "the area of finances". Scandals surrounding the Vatican bank have prompted a clean-up in recent years, with some 5,000 bank accounts being closed. But the decision to sack the bank's deputy director in 2017 without explanation prompted a flurry of rumors that he was dismissed because of his investigations.
Vatican Bank's reputation first questioned after senior banker's body found
The bank official was investigating possible illegal activity that might had hit too close to home. The bank's reputation first came into question in 1982 after the body of senior banker Roberto Calvi was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.
Roberto Calvi: 'God's Banker' because of his Vatican ties
Calvi, an Italian banker, was often referred to as "God's Banker" because of his close ties to the Vatican. A native of Milan, Calvi was Chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, which collapsed in one of modern Italy's biggest political scandals. No one was convicted of his murder but prosecutors believe it was a mafia killing linked to money laundering via Banco Ambrosiano.