Violence against children and child exploitation are “crimes” and Pope Francis is working to protect children from the “scourge” of sex abuse, leading Vatican figures told a U.N. committee.
Violence against children and child exploitation are “crimes” and Pope Francis is working to protect children from the “scourge” of sex abuse, leading Vatican figures told a U.N. committee on Jan. 16.
“There is no excuse for any form of violence or exploitation of children,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said to a Jan. 16 hearing of the U.N. committee that oversees the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Ahead of the hearing, Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See's press office, issued a note about the Holy See's adherence to the U.N. convention and Vatican efforts to combat sex abuse.
“The Holy See is deeply saddened by the scourge of sexual abuse of minors, which harms millions of children throughout the world,” his note said. He added that the Vatican “laments that, sadly, certain members of the clergy have been involved in such abuse.”
The note acknowledged that sex abuse and the suffering of abuse victims has posed a direct challenge to the Church’s credibility regarding the welfare of children.
Fr. Lombardi said this challenge has led to the Church's development of “a series of initiatives and directives” that are also “extremely helpful” to other communities.
Archbishop Tomasi noted Pope Francis' establishment of a commission for the protection of minors in order to defend the best interest of children and to prevent “any abuse or any harm that may come to them.”
He told Vatican Radio that future efforts must “strengthen the good steps and the good measures that have already been taken.” He said attention given to the Holy See is “understandable,” noting that there are criticisms and claims that the Holy See has covered up some crimes against children.
However, the archbishop said that some accusations against the Vatican are based in “a lack of knowledge” of the measures taken by the Holy See and by local churches. He said the Holy See’s attitude and directives make transparency and child protection “a priority.”