For the first time, the Vatican is publicly answering questions about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.
A United Nations committee in Geneva grilled a group of Vatican officials Thursday over the Holy See's handling of alleged sexual abuse by its clergy. (Via Al Jazeera)
Some of the most intense questioning prompted church officials to answer why the Vatican had not released full data from child sex abuse cases and what the church is now doing to prevent future abuse.
"One of the issues is that the Vatican has reports on more than 4,000 cases of sex abuse by priests and nuns against minors, but they refuse to release details of what they are." (Via CBS)
The Vatican has also been accused of responding inaccurately to the U.N.'s Rights of the Child Committee.
The BBC reports the church "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."
The church ratified the convention in 1990, but did not submit any progress reports until 2012 — long after accusations of child sex abuse by clergy members emerged in Europe and elsewhere. (Via ITV)
While the Vatican insisted to the committee that it has little authority to sanction pedophile priests in the church, leaving that authority to local law enforcement agencies, the church conceded that it does need to do more.
"The Holy See gets it ... Let’s not say too late or not. But there are certain things that need to be done differently. I would talk about cover-up, for example, because this is a very important concern." (Via CNN)
London-based Child's Rights International Network also reacted tweeting, "Holy See: "We get it" in UN review on child sexual abuse Catholic Church. Do you? Why then don't you make statistics public?" (Via Twitter / @CRINwire)
Pope Francis announced last month a committee would be created to tackle clerical abuse within the church. However, little information has been revealed about the committee since the announcement.