It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Prelate: Church Has No Hiding Place for Pedophiles
Stresses Determination of England and Wales to Fight Abuse
LONDON, MARCH 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Westminster is affirming the Church's commitment to protect children from sexual abuse and weed out past offenders.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols affirmed this in an article for The Times newspaper. The Web site of the Diocese of Westminster publicized the complete article, which was published in an edited form by The Times on Friday.
"The child abuse committed within the Catholic Church and its concealment is deeply shocking and totally unacceptable," he said. "It rightly attracts deep anger."
"Today, not for the first time, I express my unreserved shame and sorrow for what has happened to many in the Church," the prelate stated.
He continued, "My shame is compounded, as is the anger of many, at the mistaken judgments made within the Church: that reassurance from a suspect could be believed; that credible allegations were deemed to be 'unbelievable;' that the reputation of the Church mattered more than the safeguarding of children."
The archbishop underlined "the importance of the Paramouncy principle: The safety of the child comes first because the child is powerless."
"It is important to state that the document 'Crimen Sollicitationi,' (updated in 2001) does not in any way inhibit criminal offences being reported to the public authorities by Catholic dioceses or religious orders," the archbishop clarified.
He noted that "in recent days, the meaning of this document has been misunderstood or misinterpreted as part of allegations of a 'cover-up' by the Holy See."
"The relationship between the administration of Church law and the criminal law in any particular state is a point of real difficulty and misunderstanding," Archbishop Nichols acknowledged.
He added, "Nothing in the requirement of Canon Law prohibits or impedes the reporting of criminal offences to the police."
He affirmed that "since 2001, the Holy See, working through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has encouraged that course of action on dioceses which have received evidence of child abuse and which the diocesan authorities are responsible for pursing."
Archbishop Nichols reported that "in England and Wales, since 2001, the agreed policy followed by the bishops has been to report all allegations of child abuse, no matter from how far back in the past, to the police or social services."
"Every year since 2002 the Catholic Church in England and Wales has made public the exact number of allegations made within the Church, the number reported to the police, the action taken and the outcome," Archbishop Nichols reported.
"As far as I know, no other body or organization in this country does this," he added. "This is not a cover-up; it is clear and total disclosure."
The purpose in doing this, the prelate affirmed, "is to make plain that in the Catholic Church in England and Wales there is no hiding place for those who seek to harm children."
Read more: Zenit