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The Catholic Church is fighting a last ditch attempt to keep its filthy secrets to itself. PETER FROST investigates.

The Catholic Church, the Pope and the Vatican simply refuse to change their ways. The lie, deceive and hide sex offenders away in the gilded palaces of the Vatican in their continuing policy to protect the good name of the church rather than protect the young and vunerable being abused by Priests and other Clergy.

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Now, no less a body than, the United Nations has attacked the Vatican’s behaviour and called on it to change its ways.

The UN has demanded that the Vatican should instantly remove all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers.

They also denounced the Holy See for actually adopting policies which allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children.

In addition they criticised Vatican attitudes towards abortion, homosexuality, and contraception.

The Vatican surprised nobody by accusing the UN of interference.

In its comprehensive report, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) said the Holy See should open its files on members of the clergy who had hidden their crimes.

These Clergy should be dealt with by the appropriate authorities, usually in the places where the abuse occurred.

In reality the Vatican is still up to its old tricks. Just last year a Polish Archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, a papal envoy in the Dominican Republic was rushed back to be hidden in the Vatican after he was accused of sexually abusing a number of children in the slums of Santo Domingo.

Once again in this case the Vatican refused an extradition request by justice authorities in Poland and told them it was dealing with the matter in an internal investigation inside Vatican City.

In fact the offending archbishop has not just been actually hidden away physically he has also been photo-shopped out of official Vatican photographs.

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In the official picture of the bishops’ conference of the Caribbean country (above)
his head was replaced by that of an another bishop. When the deceit was spotted the picture disappeared from the Vatican website.

Archbishop Wesolowski was just one of the cases raised by the UN report.

The UN report said it was gravely concerned that the Holy See had not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed.

It said that clerics had been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide.

Most important it lambasted the practice of offenders’ mobility, the transfer of child abusers from parish to parish, or sometimes from country to country; or of retiring them to the secrecy of the Vatican itself.

The UN committee said this placed children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse. Dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children.

Ireland’s Magdalene laundries were singled out by the report as an example of how the Catholic Church had held young women in slavery-like conditions and how nuns had used violence and sexual abuse against the women.

These laundries were Catholic-run workhouses where some 10,000 women and girls worked unpaid between 1922 and 1996.

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Hundreds of, now elderly, nuns who ran these institutions are living in comparative luxury in Irish Convents or in the Vatican itself. None have ever been prosecuted or punished.

The Church always denies any official cover-up. However last December it refused to give the UN any data on abuse. It argued that it only released such information if requested to do so by another country as part of legal proceedings.

In fact the Church has obligations to the UN. The Holy See is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally binding instrument which commits it to protecting and nurturing the most vulnerable in society.

It ratified the UN Convention in 1990 but for eighteen years between 1994 and 2012 despite thousands of cases of abuse worldwide by its clergy it made no reports as required by the UN.

All across the globe victims have welcomed the new UN report as an encouragement to secular law enforcement bodies to investigate and prosecute abusive Clergy and the Church officials who are still protecting these predator priests.

Barbara Blaine, speaking for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests believes the UN report “reaffirms everything we’ve been saying. It shows that the Vatican has put the reputation of Church officials above protection of children”.

“Church officials knew about it and they refused to stop it. Nothing has changed. Despite all the rhetoric from Pope Francis and Vatican officials, they refuse to take action that will make this stop.”

Pope is still keeping it quiet

While the UN enquiries were going on Associated Press announced former Pope Benedict XVI had secretly defrocked over 400 priests during 2011 and 2012 more than twice the number in 2008 and 2009.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi initially said the AP had misread the data. Later he retracted admitting the figure was accurate. He didn’t explain why the Vatican had tried to keep it secret nor how the cases had been dealt with.

Another 400 cases are being tried by a Church tribunal or to be dealt with administratively but again no details are being made public.

The Church seems to believe it is above the law all around the world, Abusive clergy are still being moved, or quietly hidden away without punishment of treatment.

For hundreds of years the Church used its authority and the fear it generated among the faithful to keep its filthy secrets to itself.

Those days are over, even if senior Vatican officials and even the Pope himself are going to need United Nations pressure to finally admit it.

This article first appeared in the Morning Star 13 February 2014

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